India: student arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Sep 27, 2022
- Event Description
As part of a nationwide ‘crackdown,’ several hundreds of people have been arrested or detained in various states by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their alleged link to the Popular Front of India (PFI), which was banned on 27 September by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Quint spoke to the families of two such people detailed as part of this ‘crackdown.’ Both their family and friends say they weren’t part of the PFI, but of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) respectively. However, the SDPI, which is the political arm of the PFI, hasn’t been banned.
The PFI was founded in 2006, and primarily enjoys popularity and sees the most membership in parts of South India – Kerala and Karnataka being the hubs of PFI’s base. But the PFI also has some presence in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, among other states.
The Home Ministry has said it was “necessary to curb the nefarious activities” of the organisation, declaring the PFI an “unlawful association” along with “its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala”.
The Quint spoke to two such people detailed as part of this ‘crackdown’ – both their family and friends say they weren’t part of the PFI, but of the NCHRO and the SDPI respectively. However, the SDPI, which is the political arm of the PFI, hasn’t been banned. DU Student, First Person in Family To Reach College
Twenty-two-year-old Shoaib Ahmad was picked up by the police from his house in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh at around 3 am on 27 September. The family, comprising of Shoaib’s parents and his two younger siblings, were fast asleep when 25-30 police personnel came ringing their doorbells. “They took away Shoaib and along with him also took away some of his books, his laptop and phone,” a relative who did not want to be named said.
Shoaib wasn’t part of the PFI, but used to volunteer with the NCHRO, which has been banned by the Union Home Ministry as one of the organisations “affiliated” with the PFI. Shoaib’s friends say he only recently began volunteering with the NCHRO, limiting himself to logistical work.
“He was a college student. So internships and volunteer work are always helpful for college students to get certificates. He would help the NCHRO with organising talks, making posters, communication work, etc.” Abuzar Chaudhary, a friend of Shoaib told The Quint.
Shoaib was a final-year student at Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain college, studying in the BA programme. He was the first from his extended family to make it to college, his friends said.
From a very humble family, Shoaib’s mother is a tailor and stiches clothes using her sewing machine at her home itself, while his father is a property dealer. “Their financial condition hasn’t been good for a while now. In fact, just a few weeks before his detention, Shoaib’s parents had managed to buy him a laptop. He really needed a laptop for his studies and was managing without one for so long. The laptop now lies in police custody,” Abuzar said.
Manishikha, another friend of Shoaib, said he was present in the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in Shaheen Bagh, which is when she met him for the first time. “Since then, I grew to know him as an ambitious and curious person, who wanted to study a lot and was constantly looking for avenues. He would ask me about master's programmes in various colleges, and was interested in studying international relations, philosophy and more subjects about the world. He began referring to me as ‘aapa’ and I too would think of him as a younger brother,” Manishikha told The Quint.
Manishikha added that he would volunteer with the NCHRO infrequently, since as “a person from a marginalised and economically strained background, he was more focused on excelling in studies.”
Shoaib was produced before the executive magistrate of the Delhi district court on the day of his arrest, and has since been in judicial custody, Manishikha said.
The Delhi Police's Special Cell unit along with district police had conducted raids across six districts in the city last week and nabbed 30 people allegedly linked with the PFI. Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora has in a notification declared and notified some addresses in Shaheen Bagh, Abdul Fazal Enclave and Jamia Nagar as being used for the purposes of carrying out “unlawful activities” of the PFI and its associates or affiliates.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 27 September 2022, Shoaib Ahmad, student who uses to volunteer with the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, was arrested by the police over alleged links to a banned political party in Delhi, India.