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'Politically Motivated': Civil Society Activists Condemn Police Action Against Kaleem Siddiqui

The signatories held that Siddiqui was being "intimidated to silence dissent by civil society actors and the Muslim community".

New Delhi: Prominent civil society members and activists have released a statement expressing solidarity with community organiser Kaleem Siddiqui, who was served a notice by the Ahmedabad Police last month asking why he should not be externed from Ahmedabad and neighbouring districts for two years.

According to the statement, the notice cited two FIRs and 10 anonymous complaints against Siddiqui and alleged that he had attacked several individuals with weapons.

“We believe that these allegations are malafide and politically motivated,” the statement said and added that the police must immediately revoke the notice. The signatories, who included Ghanshyam Shah, Jignesh Mevani, Kannan Gopinathan, Kavitha Krishnan, Ramachandra Guha and Zoya Hasan, also questioned how ten complainants registered grievances against Siddiqui in a matter of just a week in June 2020 amidst the outbreak of COVID-19.

Testifying to Siddiqui’s record as a social worker and journalist, the statement pointed out that previously Siddiqui’s work exposing the nexus between police officials and bootleggers in Ahmedabad had earned the ire of the Ahmedabad Police, which had registered an FIR against him in 2018. Siddiqui was subsequently acquitted of all charges by the Gujarat high court.

Also read: Gujarat: Anti-CAA Protest Organiser Kaleem Siddiqui Served Externment Notice

The signatories also took note of Siddiqui’s crucial role in campaigning against the Citizenship Amendment Act and organising a sit-in protest in Ajit Mill compound in Rakhial.

Maintaining that the actions by the Ahmedabad Police against a grassroots level activist and a journalist are “condemnable and unwarranted”, the statement held that Siddiqui was being “intimidated to silence dissent by civil society actors and the Muslim community”.

The entire text of the statement has been reproduced below.

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Statement in support of Kaleem Siddiqui

We, the undersigned, express our solidarity with Kaleem Siddiqui, a dedicated social worker, community organizer, and journalist based in Ahmedabad who is being hounded without justification by the Ahmedabad Police.

On 17 July 2020, Kaleem was served a notice by Ahmedabad Police seeking an explanation as to why he should not be barred from Ahmedabad and neighbouring districts for two years. The notice cites two First Information Reports (FIRs) and 10 anonymous complaints against Kaleem alleging that he is not only hot-tempered but has also attacked several individuals with weapons.

We believe that these allegations are malafide and politically motivated. Prima facie, the anonymous complaints against him appear entirely baseless. It is alleged that these complainants wish to remain anonymous as they fear Kaleem’s influence in the locality. We fail to understand why these ten complainants registered their grievances against Kaleem in a matter of just a week in June 2020 amidst a nation-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We testify to Kaleem’s track record as a committed social worker who has stood by vulnerable members of our society. In the last few years, Kaleem has actively exposed the nexus between police officials and bootleggers in Ahmedabad — a mockery of prohibition law in Gujarat. His activism put an end to corruption by some police officials in Ahmedabad. Instead of appreciating his efforts, Ahmedabad Police had registered an FIR to threaten Kaleem in 2018. However, Gujarat High Court has acquitted him from all charges in this FIR.

More recently, from December 2019, Kaleem vigorously campaigned against the anti-Muslim amendment to India’s citizenship law and the proposed national registers of citizens and populace. His role in organising a sit-in protest in Ajit Mill compound in Rakhial was most crucial in resisting the anti-constitutional and anti-minority nature of the citizenship law. He is also a journalist writing in widely-read web portals, including Down to Earth and Jan Chowk. Kaleem’s dedication to battling injustice and corruption has clearly earned him the ire of certain officials in the city.

Indeed, we think that Kaleem is being intimidated to silence dissent by civil society actors and the Muslim community. This behaviour by Ahmedabad Police against a grassroots level activist and a journalist is condemnable and unwarranted. This harassment must end, and the police must immediately revoke this notice.

6 PM IST, 7 August 2020

  1. Signatory’s Name Occupation & Institutional Affiliation
  2. Aaftab Mafat, Concerned Citizen
  3. Aakar Patel, Columnist
  4. Aaris Mohammed Trustee, Center for Social and Constitutional Studies
  5. Ahamed, Real estate
  6. Ajaz Shaikh, PhD Student, GU
  7. Ajin K Thomas, Researcher, Ahmedabad
  8. Amaani Vaniya, Student Representative, Gujarat University
  9. amit modi, freelancer
  10. Anil TV, Delhi Solidarity Group
  11. Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM
  12. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People
  13. Ashok Shrimali, Social Actuvist
  14. Atish Indrekar
  15. Chhara, Theatre Activist
  16. Atul chakravarty, Entrepreneur
  17. atul mhase, business
  18. Ayesha, Kamkoriwala Student, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  19. Azharuddin Saiyed, Architect
  20. Aziz Ahmedabadi, Concerned Citizen
  21. Bhargav Oza, Researcher
  22. Bhaswati Bhattacharya,  Senior Research Fellow, Goettingen University
  23. Bhavesh Bariya, Journalist
  24. Bhavna Ramrakhiani, Convenor, ACF
  25. Bindu Desai, Concerned Citizen
  26. Cedric Prakash, Human rights and Peace Activist
  27. Cenny, Researcher
  28. Dabhi James social research
  29. Deepti Bharti NFIW Delhi Unit
  30. Dev Desai Social Worker
  31. Dev Gangjee Law professor, Oxford University
  32. Dhaval Chauhan PHD student in Gujarat university
  33. Dr Batul Hamid Principal at viva college of law
  34. dr lubna sarwath State General Secretary, Socialist Party(India), Hyderabad
  35. Fahad Zuberi Academic and Writer
  36. Farooq Abdulgafar
  37. Bawani Retired Govt. Servant – Signed individual capacity
  38. Ghanshyam Shah Retired professor. Former National Fellow, ICSSR, Delhi, and IIAS Shimla,
  39. hadia student, university of hyderabad
  40. Hanif Lakdawala Social activist
  41. Heman Student, Azim Premji University
  42. Hiren Gandhi Cultural Activist
  43. Hozefa Ujjaini Consultant
  44. Imran shaikh Concerned Citizen
  45. Irawati SA Social Scientist
  46. Isha Prakash Law student at Government Law College
  47. Ismail K. Professsor Emeritus of Arabic & Islamic Studies, University of Poonawala California, Los Angeles
  48. Jagmohan Singh General Secretary Association For Democratic Rights ,Punjab
  49. Jatin Sheth Social worker, Convener, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch
  50. Jay Patel Student at MSU, Baroda
  51. Jayanti Panchal Social acivist. Socialist Party ( India )
  52. Jignesh Mevani MLA, Vadgam (Gujarat)
  53. Joseph Mattam Emeritus Prof.
  54. Kamayani Bali Mahabal Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Mumbai
  55. Kannan Gopinathan
  56. Kashyap Sanghani Independent Brand Consultant
  57. Kausharali Saiyed President (Gujarat) – Socialist Party (India)
  58. Kavita Krishnan AIPWA Secretary
  59. Kiran Trivedi A Writer and Humanist
  60. Krishna Kant Environment Activist
  61. Lubaib Social Worker and Researcher
  62. M. Maqbool A.
  63. Mateen National President, United Citizens’ Forum
  64. Maansi Shah Student, Columbia University
  65. Madhu Bhaduri Ambassador of India ( Retd )
  66. Mahendra Nath
  67. Mishra Journalist
  68. mahesh pandya Gujarat Social Watch
  69. manishi Jani Writer
  70. Manoj Singh AIPF
  71. Mansee Bal
  72. Bhargava Concerned Citizen
  73. Martin Macwan Managing Trustee, Navsarjan
  74. Mary Ann Chacko Professor, Ahmedabad University
  75. Mary Ann Chacko Professor, Ahmedabad University
  76. Masood Retired
  77. Md Faizan Anwar Student
  78. Michael Martin Social worker
  79. Minhajudheen PK Student
  80. Mithila Mapin Publishing
  81. Mobin Shaik Tailor
  82. Mritiunjoy Mohanty Professor, IIM Calcutta
  83. Muzammil Memon Busines
  84. Nafisa Barot Activist
  85. Natasha Badhwar Author, Film-Maker
  86. Navdeep Mathur Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad
  87. Neelima Sharma Nishant
  88. Neeta Ratwani Filmmaker
  89. Neha Shah L J Institute of Management Studie
  90. Nicholas Da Cunha Landlord
  91. Niharika Student, PDPU
  92. Nikita Sud University academic, Oxford University
  93. Nirjhari Sinha Chairperson, Jan Sangharsh Manch
  94. Nivedita Jayaram Researcher
  95. Pathik Patel Lawyer
  96. Payal Student
  97. Peehu Pardeshi Assistant Professor, TISS Mumbai
  98. Prasad Chacko Independent consultant on inclusive development
  99. Purvi Tank Self Employed
  100. Rafi Development activist
  101. Rajan Joseph
  102. Barrett Assistant professor MSU of Baroda
  103. Ramachandra Guha Historian and Writer
  104. Rohit Prajapati Activist
  105. romi mahajan romi mahajan
  106. Rukmani Anandani Writer
  107. Rushda Executive Member, NFIW
  108. Sajid Anwarbhai
  109. Alvi Student
  110. Sajid Hashmat President – Husaini Sena
  111. Salim Hafezi Sociopolitical Activist
  112. Sameer Yadav Development Professional, No Borders Consultancy
  113. Sandeep Pandey Vice President, Socialist Party (India)
  114. Saroop Dhruv Poetress and Cultural Activist
  115. Satya Oza Researcher
  116. Shamsul Islam Former faculty University of Delhi
  117. Sharik Laliwala Independent Researcher
  118. Shiney V Research
  119. Shireen Azam Independent Writer
  120. Shlok Talati Student, PDPU
  121. Shreekumar Farmer, Nakre, Karkala, udupi, Karnataka
  122. Shweta Sundar Architect
  123. Sonal Activist
  124. Subhasis Bandyopadhyay Teacher at IIEST, Shibpur
  125. Sunita Viswanath Hindus for Human Rights
  126. Surabhi Socialist Party (India)
  127. Sushil Khanna Professor of Economics (Retrd)
  128. Svati Joshi Academic
  129. Swati Goswami Independent Writer
  130. Swati Thampan Student
  131. Tanushree Gangopadhyay Journalist Independent
  132. Tazeen Pathan Incoming student (Class of ’22) at Imperial College London
  133. TOSIF DIWAN Service
  134. Tushar Katiyar Student @ Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University
  135. Urvish Kothari Writer
  136. Utpal Anish Gujarat Vidyapith
  137. varadharajan business
  138. Vardaa Undergraduate student at Jawaharlal Nehru University
  139. Varsha Law Student
  140. Vijaya working with migrants in Kanpur, J,B,V,Samiti
  141. Vinod Kumar University of Hyderabad
  142. Wency Mendes Filmmaker
  143. Yogendra Yadav, President, Swaraj India
  144. Yusuf Business
  145. Zakia Soman Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
  146. Zoya Hasan Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University