CHAMPAIGN, IL – Renowned scholar Noam Chomsky, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi along with four international organizations have come out to condemn the prolonged incarceration of scholar and activist Umar Khalid.
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The organizations that have called for scholar and activist Khalid’s release are Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Dalit Solidarity Forum, and India Civil Watch International. Khalid was arrested on September 14, 2020. Delhi Police has claimed he had connections to the northeast Delhi communal violence of that year. Police has also attempted to connect his role in leading protests in late 2019 and early 2020 against the Citizenship Amendment Act to the violence. Chomsky said in a statement, “Khalid’s case is one of many that shed a grim light on India’s system of justice during a period of repression, and often violence, that has been visibly undermining free institutions and the free practice of the rights of citizenship, part of the large-scale governmental effort to dismantle India’s honorable tradition of secular democracy and to impose a Hindu ethnocracy.”
Gandhi, who is a Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said in a video statement, “In [Khalid], India possesses one of its finest minds, reinforced by a sensitive conscience…this brilliant young son of India has now been silenced for 20 continuous months.” He added, “Every additional day of detention for Umar and for the others wrongfully detained, who number in the thousands, is a fresh blow against democracy in the world, against human dignity, and against India’s good name.”