Amidst Official Silence, Allahabad Activist Javed Mohammad's Family Discover He Is in Deoria Jail

On Tuesday afternoon, the family's lawyer told 'The Wire' that Mohammad, whose wife's house was demolished last week, had been traced to Deoria jail thanks to media reports.

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New Delhi: The family of Welfare Party leader Javed Mohammad – whose house was razed by the Prayagraj authorities after the Uttar Pradesh police accused him of masterminding protests against controversial comments on Islam’s Prophet by BJP leaders – said on Tuesday that they had traced him to Deoria jail. Earlier, they released a statement accusing the authorities of not revealing where he had been imprisoned.

Mohammad was arrested on June 11. A prominent activist and leader, Mohammad was also visible during the 2019 protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Modi government’s controversial law which excluded Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries out of the ambit of Indian citizenship.

On June 10, Prayagraj and several other cities across India saw protests against comments made on Prophet Muhammad by two Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.

Immediately afterwards, Mohammad was named a “key conspirator” by the Uttar Pradesh police alongside 10 others.

He was taken into custody from his residence early on Saturday, June 11. Later that day, his wife Parveen Fatima and daughter Sumaiya Fatima were also detained. They were subsequently released.

The police claimed that Javed Mohammad gave the call for the Friday protest. However, his family and daughter Afreen Fatima have disputed this claim, noting that Mohammad had nothing to do with the agitation.

On June 12, the Prayagraj administration demolished Mohammad’s house, claiming it was illegal. The legality of such a move – especially in the light of the fact that the house belonged to Mohammad’s wife while the notice was sent to him – has been questioned. The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind filed a plea in the Supreme Court in the immediate aftermath of this and the bench gave the UP government three days to explain under what provisions of law the demolition was carried out.

Mohammad has been in police custody since June 11.

Late on June 20, 2022, Afreen Fatima tweeted that jail authorities and district administration had “denied [the] presence” of her father in the Naini Central Jail, “where he was kept following his arrest.”

Noting that the family was concerned about his safety and health in the light of the fact that they now had no information on his whereabouts, Fatima released a statement from her mother, Parveen Fatima.

“The family and the lawyers have been trying to locate him since early morning but as of yet the officials of Allahabad district and of Naini Central Jail have failed to assure us of my husband’s whereabouts,” Parveen Fatima wrote.

Parveen Fatima also noted that while media reports and other sources said that her husband has been transferred to Deoria jail, there has been no official word from the authorities.

“The Allahabad [the city is now known as Prayagraj] administration has been bypassing all procedures to incriminate and harass our family,” Parveen Fatima wrote in the statement, noting that this highhandedness of district and jail officials was cause for worry to her family.

On Tuesday afternoon, the family’s lawyer K.K. Roy told The Wire that Mohammad had been traced to Deoria jail thanks to media reports. Later, Fatima too tweeted the same.

The authorities have allegedly still not responded to the family.