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Activist & Journalist Sharjeel Usmani Held For Anti-CAA Protests Released On Bail

Ex-AMU student leader Sharjeel Usmani has been granted bail by the Aligarh Sessions Court. He was arrested from his house by the Uttar Pradesh police on 9 July for his alleged role in cases related to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Aligarh Muslim University campus on 15 December last year.

“I extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has stood beside me in the most difficult times,” Usmani told Maktoob Media over the phone.

“Alhamdulillah (thank God), Sharjeel bhai has been released from Aligarh Jail and has reached his home safely,” Usmani’s brother Areeb Usmani tweeted.

23-year-old Usmani, the national secretary of the Fraternity Movement has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests and a vocal critic of the ruling party. He was picked from his house by 5 people claiming to be from the Crime Branch. He was arrested without an arrest warrant or memo and his books and laptop were also seized. Currently, Usmani’s name is allegedly mentioned in 5 FIRs related to the Police-Paramilitary Violence in Aligarh Muslim University on 15th December 2019.

International human rights watchdogs including Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch and civil society groups, teachers associations, student organisations, and filmmakers across India had issued statements asking for the release of Sharjeel Usmani and other anti-CAA activists who were ‘targetted by Hindu nationalist government for protesting anti-Muslim laws’ and ‘arrested under false accusations by State.’

Thousands Still Trapped in Jail

Despite the release of Sharjeel Usmani, Kafeel Khan and others, the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that Indian Muslims, with a population of 14.2%, made up 16.6% of the convict population, and 18.7% of all undertrials in jails.

The largest number of Muslim convicts were in Uttar Pradesh (6,098), followed by West Bengal (2,369) and Maharashtra (2,114).

The largest number of Muslim undertrials were also in Uttar Pradesh (21,139), followed by Bihar (4,758) and Madhya Pradesh (2,947).

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