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Amitav Ghosh, Chomsky, Nair among over 200 demanding Khalid's release

New Delhi: Over 200 educators, filmmakers and authors including renowned linguist and academic Noam Chomsky and filmmaker Mira Nair, have now issued a joint statement demanding that the Centre free former JNU student and activist Umar Khalid, arrested under the stringent UAPA in one of the north-east Delhi riots cases.

Besides Chomsky and Nair, signatories include actor Ratna Pathak Shah, authors Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, and journalist P Sainath.

"We call on the Government of India to free Umar Khalid and all those falsely implicated and unjustly incarcerated for protesting against the CAA-NRC that denies equal citizenship rights and to ensure that the Delhi Police investigate the Delhi riots with impartiality under the oath they took as public servants bound by the Constitution of India," the statement read.

"We stand in solidarity and outrage, with the brave young scholar and activist Umar Khalid, arrested in New Delhi on September 14, 2020, under fabricated charges of engineering the Delhi riots in February 2020," the statement said. The statement said Khalid "used the passion of his commitment to his country, marshalled his education and his voice to join the movement for equal citizenship, against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)" which introduced religion as a criterion for citizenship and has no place in a secular nation.

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava had last week insisted that the force had collected documentary evidence, including scientific evidence, to support its case in connection with the riots and that the related cases were being probed with utmost professionalism.

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