Last year on 1st April 2020, Jamia Millia Student student Meeran Haider was arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite “communal riots”, (Delhi Pogrom) in northeast Delhi. Last year, on the same date at 10 am, Haider was called for interrogation by the Special Cell at their Lodhi Colony office and was subsequently arrested.
Haider was arrested during the Covid-19 lockdown, while he was engaged in relief work, However, he was brought before the Metropolitan Magistrate and remanded in police custody for 14 days initially He was granted bail, but later re-arrested by the police on another charge
Delhi police first booked him and others for allegedly organizing protests and later added stronger, more serious non-bailable offences like sedition and conspiracy to hold riots. He was charged with UAPA and has been kept held in Tihar Jail since then.
The Chronology of His Arrest
According to the statement by Human Rights Defenders’ Alert India, Haider was summoned to the Special Cell Police Station, Lodhi Road on April 1, 2020, asking him to reach the police station for investigation purposes. He was questioned there for almost all day and then arrested the same day by the Special Cell under FIR No. 59/2020 under Sections 147, 148, 149 read with 120B of the IPC which deal with rioting, unlawful assembly and criminal conspiracy.
On April 2, Haider was produced before a Metropolitan Magistrate for remand hearing who remanded Haider to police custody for four days and later extended it by nine more days. HRDA says that at the time of arrest, the charges invoked under FIR No. 59/2020 were bailable offences with no mention of other IPC sections. Other laws and the UAPA Act were only added at a later stage, after three weeks of his arrest; a violation of the Supreme Court’s directions in Arnesh Kumar vs. the State of Bihar, only to keep Haider in custody for a longer period.
Who is Meeran Haider?
Meeran Haider is a human rights defender and student at the Jamia Millia Islamia University. He is a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee, which played an important role in organizing Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi in December 2019. He was active in Anti- CAA, NRC protests.
Meeran Haider was born in 1991 at Barharia block of Siwan district, Bihar. He moved to Delhi at a young age and did his schooling from Jamia Millia Islamia. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering, going on to pursue MBA in International Business and completing an M-Phil in West Asian Studies — all from Jamia.
Meeran was a member of the Aam Aadmi Party’s youth wing, Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS). Meeran went on a hunger strike in 2017 as part of a protest demanding the restoration of a Student Union in the university. He co-founded the Jamia Students Forum (JSF), a platform for student activists of the university.
In 2019, he left the CYSS and joined Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). He is presently a PhD research scholar at the Centre for Management Studies at Jamia
Haider’s arrest wasn’t an isolated event but an example of the State’s attempt to criminalize speech by arresting activists and defenders in the country and especially apathetic during Covid-19 when directions were given for the de-congestion of prisons.
After the Shaheen Bagh protest, Police across the country has been witch-hunting Anti- CAA, NRC activists. Meeran Haider was implicated in a fabricated case by the Delhi Police which targeted him for opposing the CAA. The charges under which he was booked surely demonstrated the mala fide intentions of the Delhi Police.
On one year of his vindictive arrest, we demand the immediate release of Human Rights Activist, Meeran Haider.