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Police raid, detention of youths spark protest in Jamia Nagar

Both youths released late at night, police say will call them again if needed.

Protesters outside Jamia Nagar police station on Sunday. (Ravi Kanojia) Protesters outside Jamia Nagar police station on Sunday. (IE photo: Ravi Kanojia)

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police picked up two persons from Abul Fazal Enclave in Jamia Nagar on Sunday for suspected links with the banned Indian Mujahideen (IM), triggering protests by residents.

Late in the night, however, police released the two youths and said they would be asked to join investigations if needed.

The two men — one named Ammar; the other his friend — were picked up early morning. The house from where they were taken away is owned by a London-based doctor and is in the care of his nephew Rehan Fahmi.

Residents of Jamia Nagar, angry with the detention of two young men from Abul Fazal Enclave, staged a protest and blocked the road connecting Jasola and Noida on Sunday evening. The protesters demanded that a case of kidnapping be lodged against the Special Cell for detaining the two men.

The residents continued to block the road till late evening, seeking to know where the two men had been taken and shouted slogans against the Delhi Police. “Unlawful detentions are a constant threat in this part of the capital. Why should young students have to live in fear?” a resident asked.

Demonstrators also staged a protest in front of the Jamia Nagar police station against the detentions. The room in the house from where Ammar and his friend were picked up is rented to a 29-year-old man named Danish, who works at a private firm in Noida. At present, he is in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, taking an exam. He has been living at E-101, Abul Fazal Enclave, for more than two years.

According to Fahmi, at 7 am, at least 12 policemen — most of them in plainclothes — arrived at the address and said they wanted to search the house. “They searched the house, first upstairs and then they came down to Danish’s room, where Ammar and the other person were staying. They had a picture of Ammar and were specifically looking for him,” Fahmi said.

He claimed the police officers produced no warrants and offered no explanation for the search.

Fahmi said both Ammar and the other person cooperated with police. “They had just woken up and cooperated with the search. Police asked them to come with them for questioning. They took their luggage, locked the room and took the keys with them,” Fahmi said.

After they left, Fahmi lodged a complaint at the Jamia Nagar police station, saying police took away the two men without showing any documents or even providing a receipt of the keys to the room they locked and left.

Ammar, a mechanical engineering student at an institute in Jaipur, had called Danish on March 21, asking him if he could stay at his room in Delhi for a day before leaving for Umrah (pilgrimage) on Monday. Both had been neighbours in Dhanbad all their lives, and Ammar had visited Danish many times before.

Ammar, accompanied by a friend, arrived at the address on March 22. Fahmi, who had seen Ammar before, gave them the keys to Danish’s room. “Danish had called me to say two of his friends would be visiting. I had met Ammar before, so I gave him the keys and they stayed the night,” Fahmi said.

Just outside the lane, 50 metres from the house, residents are clueless about the incident.

Speaking to Newsline, Danish, who is in Dhanbad for his MSc exams, said he had known Ammar all his life and it was unlikely that he could be involved in any suspicious activity. “He is a very social person, he was going to Saudi for pilgrimage and had an interview to attend at a university in Madinah, where he wanted to pursue further education,” he said.

He said the man accompanying him had come to see off Ammar before he left for pilgrimage as he was injured in a bike accident recently.

AAP’s Irfanullah Khan, who contested the Assembly elections from Okhla, said the way in which people were picked up from the area is what angered local residents. “There needs to be greater transparency in dealing with such sensitive issues. Such things have happened before and, if local residents are taken into confidence, they will only help the police,” he said.

Area MLA Asif Mohd. Khan said he met the ACP, who told him that the two men were detained “only on the basis of suspicion”. “The ACP told me that police detained these boys due to some suspicion brought on by articles found in Ammar’s room in Jaipur. The other person detained happened to be with him and was asked to accompany the police team,” he said.

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