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Aligarh Muslim University student activist Sharjeel Usmani was arrested from his hometown of Sidhari in Azamgarh by the Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday in a case related to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in December 2019.
The family said that Usmani was picked up from home by five policemen dressed in civil clothes, claiming to be from the crime branch, The Wire reported. When questioned earlier as to why they had come, one of the men said, "You don't need to know, Sharjeel knows why we're here," while pointing at Usmani who had already been arrested outside his house.
They also confiscated his laptop, his books, and a set of clothes. The police did not show any identification before investigating his room, and each family member was made to stand and were photographed, Usmani's brother Areeb informed the media.
"I refuse to believe it is an arrest. They did not tell us what charges were being pressed, they did not allow us to have any conversation with him. As a parent, and more importantly, as citizens, we have the right to know," Usmani's parents as quoted.
As of now, no formal statement has been released by the Azamgarh Police, however, AmarUjala has quoted Additional SP (crime) of the district Arvind Kumar, where he said that the arrest was made by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) of the Lucknow police, in relation to the case filed in Aligarh last December over the anti- CAA-NRC-NPR protests against Usmani and several others.
During the December 2019 protests, the police had alleged students of throwing stones at them and refused to disperse. On the other hand, students claimed that the police forcibly entered the college campus and attacked them.
In fact, a fact-finding report was produced by a team of lawyers, activists, journalists led by human rights activist Harsh Mander and Professor Chaman Lal last year, that claimed police brutality against the students.
Many students and netizens tweeted about Sharjeel's sudden arrest and demanded his release.
Shocking to know that @SharjeelUsmani got arrested.— Ovais Sultan Khan | اُویس | उवेस (@OvaisSultanKhan) July 8, 2020
Sharjeel is one of the brightest emerging intellectual minds of our generation.
I demand he must be released immediately and unconditionally.
I am with him, and I believe all the sane voices will stand with him. pic.twitter.com/UXiQmUNQMi
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