AMU alumnus Sharjeel Usmani arrested by UP Police for 'inciting' 15 Dec anti-CAA protest in varsity
Reports said that Sharjeel Usmani was arrested by five or six plain-clothed policemen while he was out for some tea. his laptop, books and a set of clothes have been confiscated from his home.
Aligarh Muslim University alumnus Sharjeel Usmani was arrested near his home in Azamgarh on Wednesday evening for allegedly organising the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests. Usmani has been charged with instigating violence during the December 2019 protests against CAA and the National Register of Citizens.
According to a report in Amar Ujala, Sharjeel was arrested by the personnel of Lucknow Special Task Force and was wanted in the case with six others - Ahmed Muztaba Faraj, Shamim Bari, Salman Imtiaz, Amir Ul Jais, Naeem Ali, and Zaid Sherwani. All seven are students and alum of the AMU.
The report quoted Azamgarh's additional SP (crime) Arvind Kumar confirming the arrest, even through there is no official statement by the state police on his arrest.
The Wire reported that Sharjeel was picked up by five or six "plain-clothed policemen" while he was out for some tea. They later came to his home and confiscated his laptop, all his books, and a set of clothes.
"Each of us was made to stand and be photographed, stating our relation to him”, Sharjeel's brother Areeb told The Wire. He also said no woman officer was present, even though there were women, such as Sharjeel maternal aunt, who were also compelled to get their photographs taken.
Sharjeel was one of those who led protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR at the AMU campus, which turned violent on 15 December 2020. He has written coloumns for media houses, including Firstpost, and has been a prominent voice in protesting against the CAA and NRC. However, he has also courted controversy for expressing solidarity with Sharukh Pathan who was arrested for brandishing a weapon and then firing bullets at a protest site in New Delhi.
According to reports, AMU students were protesting peacefully against the citizenship law since 13 December but situation tensed up two days later when police clashed with angry students. They were lathi charged by the para military force and Uttar Pradesh Police, who also fired tear gas shells, rubber bullets and pellets at them.
The police and students both offer conflicting accounts of the event. The police say that Usmani and his aides instigated students to confront police and throw stones at them, in which several policemen were injured. The police say they entered the campus on the administration's request after the student broke down the police cordon and sealed all gates to the campus.
The students, however, claim that the police crackdown was unprovoked and brutal in which at least 20 students were seriously injured. A fact-finding report produced by a team led by Harsh Mander has corroborated the students' account and called the police crackdown 'unparalleled." The report has claimed that when the violence started, even ambulances, which rushed to move the injured students to hospitals, were attacked by the cops and the drivers and paramedical staff were attacked and manhandled and asked to stay away from the injured students.
The report also claimed that the AMU administration had "unconscionably abandoned its students and threw them to a hostile and pitiless state".
Around 70 people, including students, 20 police personnel and AMU security guards, were injured in the clashes. AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan were also arrested in May 2020 under similar charges for organising and participating in the anti-CAA protests.
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