‘Stop branding my brother as anti-national. He wants azadi (independence) from the destroyer of the nation’ said an emotional 11-year-old Sarah Fatima, the youngest sister of Umar Khalid who is facing sedition charges for allegedly raising ‘anti-India slogans’ on 9 February at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and is presently lodged inside Tihar jail in the national capital.
“Umar is fighting for the nation, and for its oppressed and downtrodden people. He can never be anti-national,” Sarah told Firstpost after her father – Dr SQR Ilyas – encouraged her to talk to the media.
“I miss him, but I am not afraid at all, because so many people are supporting him,” she said adding that “he will come back soon smiling.”
Asked if she knows that the judicial custody of Umar and Anirban has been increased by a further 14 days, he said, “My brother will come out clean. It is just a matter of time. I am glad to see that such a large number of people have gathered here in his support. What disturbs us is him being labelling as an anti-national and a terrorist by a section of the media.”
Asked what brought her to the march, she said, “I, along with my elder sister and father have come here to ask the government to release Umar and Anirban, and withdraw the sedition charges, because most of the videos on the basis of which they have been booked have found to be doctored and none of the videos show Umar raising anti-India slogans.”
To a question on what message she wished to give to Umar, she said, “You continue with your fight against all kind of injustices and always stand with the truth.”
Sharing the same view, Kulsum Fatima (25), a post-graduate in history from Ambedkar University, praised her ‘bhai’ — as she fondly calls Umar — as a “good human being who has done nothing wrong”. “Such massive support means a lot for us, because the 10 days when my brother was missing were really nightmarish. We were scared of his life. But now, things have improved. We have faith in the judiciary and are hopeful that he will be granted bail,” she said.
The bail applications of Umar and Anirban are likely to be filed in the court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) has rejected the show cause notices issued to the students by the internal inquiry committee of the JNU administration alleging “vagueness of charges and mischief”. “How is it that a report of the inquiry committee of JNU is being leaked to the media when there is no official word either from the rector or the vice chancellor on it? How can guilt be established without a proper inquiry? As far as the show cause notices issued to many students are concerned, no charge has been specified in that,” JNUTA Secretary Bikramaditya Chaudhary told Firstpost, adding that, “If you are not transparent, you are not trustworthy”.
A show cause notice issued to a student, whose name and other details are withheld, reads, “As per the High Level Enquiry Committee findings, you have been found guilty on the following accounts under the Clause 3, Category II of Rules and discipline and proper conduct of students of JNU: (IX) Arousing communal, caste or regional feeling or creating disharmony among students, (XI) Causing or colluding in the unauthorised entry of any person into the campus or in the unauthorised occupation of any portion of the university premises, including halls of residences, by any person, (XXV) Any other act which may be considered by the VC or any other competent authority to be an act of violation of discipline and conduct during the incident which took place on 9 Februray 2016 in the JNU campus. You are hereby asked to explain why disciplinary action should not be initiated against you for indulging in the above act.”