Late on Sunday night, Umar Khalid, former JNU student and son of an ex-SIMI member was arrested for his role in the Delhi anti-Hindu riots that broke out on the 24th of February and claimed over 50 lives. Umar Khalid has reportedly been booked under the stringent UAPA. He was interrogated for hours first, till about 1 PM, according to several claims and then eventually arrested in the evening.
As in the norm following the arrest of accused from the Left or the Islamist cabal, the entire ecosystem had a meltdown alleging that the Delhi Police was fabricating cases and not arrested the people who actually fomented violence in Northeast Delhi. They also claimed that the speech he was being arrested for did not call for any form of violence if heard in full and that Umar Khalid was not in Delhi when the riots broke out, and hence, he could not be guilty of anything that the police are accusing him off.
The arguments given in Umar Khalid’s favour make little to no sense. Firstly, the fact that he was not in Delhi at the time the riots broke out is no defence at all. He has not been accused of picking up the stones and guns himself. He has been accused of hatching a conspiracy of the riots. Trying to shield Umar Khalid by saying he was not there when the actual violence broke out is the same as saying that Osama Bin Laden cannot be blamed for 9/11 terror attack because he was not flying the plane that hit the twin towers.
Further, talking about the speech specifically and only mentioning the speech as the reason he has been arrested is disingenuous. There are several other serious things that he has been accused of and the investigation is still on.
From whatever we know so far from other chargesheets that have been filed and the context of Umar Khalid’s name that have cropped up in those chargesheets, one can easily conclude that he has not been arrested only for his speeches, though the speeches were a part of the conspiracy.
There are several FIRs and some subsequent chargesheets from where we can get a glimpse of the larger conspiracy that Umar Khalid is accused of. Sources have also confirmed that he has been arrested for his role in the larger conspiracy and that the speeches are only a part of the what he is accused of and not the entire story behind his role.
How it all started: A short chronology
Most chargesheets filed in the Delhi anti-Hindu riots case so far have a detailed chronology of events attached to them which starts from the events of December. One has to recall that on the 15th of December, violence broke out in Jamia Millia Islamia. The chargesheet says that some students, ex-students of Jamia and people associated with political parties congregated to protest the CAA and NRC and wanted to march towards the Parliament House and Presidents House. When stopped, they started pelting stones and indulging in violence.
In the process, busses were burnt, cars were damaged, 2 public persons got injured and 10 police personnel also suffered injuries.
It is interesting to note that while the violence broke out on the 15th of December, on the 14th of December, Sharjeel Imam had delivered his provocative speech at the very site. He had urged Muslims to protest against CAA and NRC by doing ‘chakka jam’ on the 14th of December. On the 15th of December, protestors tried to block Mathura road and violence ensued.
Following this, the dispersing crowd retreated inside Jamia and a fresh cycle of violence started. The usual suspects had proceeded to blame the police was trying to enter a college campus and brutalising students, however, the truth was far from it. It was in fact these ‘students’ who had started the violence and the police were merely trying to control the violence.
The chargesheet mentions that right after the violence of 15th December, Jamia Coordination Committee was coordinating protests and blockages of roads. They had called several leaders to speak to the protesting Muslims as well. The chargesheet mentions Harsh Mandar who had instigated people on the 16th of December (though he has not been named as an accused so far).
The Shaheen Bagh protest then started, on cue, from the 15th of December. While the Shaheen Bagh protest raged on, on the 17th of December, violent mobs started pelting stones in the Jaffrabad area.
Thereafter, from the 15th of January, Muslim protestors blocked roads in 7 different areas in the name of protests. Provocative slogans were raised and incalculable inconvenience was caused to commuters.
Here are the 7 roads that were blocked:
- Seelampur – Opposite Medina Masjid (from the 15th of January)
- Dayalpur – Brijpuri Pulia near Farrukhia Masjid (from the 17th of January)
- Dayalpur – Chand Bagh Majar on Bhajanpura (from 17th of January)
- Jyoti Nagar – Kardam Puri Pulia near Ashharfia masjid (from 17th of January)
- Khajuri Khas – A block main road, Shri Ram Colony (from 17th of January)
- Bhajanpura – Noor-e-Lahi near petrol pump (from 18th January)
- Shastri Park – Near Wahid Jama Masjid (from 26th of January)
It is pertinent to note that people from the Chand Bagh Mazar protest site had also tried to block the main Wazirabad Road.
The chargesheet categorically states that the riots were pre-planned and not spontaneous. On the 22nd of January night, woman, children and several Muslims protestors blocked the Jaffrabad metro station after Chandrashekhar Azad’s call for Bharat Bandh. It is pertinent to note that is also said that Pinjra Tod and JCC were instrumental in the instigation and implementation of blockage of Jaffrabad metro station. On the 23rd, there was a counter rally which demanded the opening of the road that had been blocked by anti-CAA crowds. The Muslim side started pelting stones first, as even mentioned in the chargesheets. On the 24th, full-fledged riots began with the first life being claimed being that of constable Ratan Lal after being attacked by a Muslim mob.
Where does Umar Khalid fit into the chronology of events – Analysing his role
The first evidence of Umar Khalid’s role in the Delhi Riots came when a speech made by him surfaced. The speech was allegedly made on the 20th of February in Amravati. In the speech, he was clearly heard saying that on the 24th of February, when President Donald Trump visits India, Muslims should ‘show’ the visiting US president that the people of India are fighting against the ruling party of India.
The entire speech was about 17 minutes long where Khalid invoked the false narratives of ‘targeted mob lynching’ against Muslims and then went on to say that when the Muslims did not revolt against the Ayodhya judgement by Supreme Court, the government took it for granted that they can bring any law against Muslims.
Inciting the crowd further, saying the CAA has been brought to harm Muslims, Khalid says that the people should show the government its ‘Aukaad’, and take to the streets to throw it out. He further says that if enough people take to the streets, first the CAA will go, then the NPR and then NRC, eventually the government will also go.
It was 4 days after this speech, on the 24th of February, as Umar Khalid had predicted, that riots broke out. Ankit Sharma was stabbed over 50 times by the mobs of Tahir Hussain. Dilbar Negi’s arms and legs were chopped off and he was burnt alive by Muslims. Amidst chants of Allahu Abkar and Nara e Taqbeer, Hindus were specifically targeted.
The Left and Islamist cabal found nothing wrong with this speech. They, in fact, called it a peaceful speech and said there was nothing in it that incited violence. They find nothing wrong with the fact that Umar Khalid, only 4 days before riots broke out, had specifically mentioned the date 24th of February and said that on that day, they will “show” how they fight with the government.
But was Umar Khalid’s role limited to just this speech?
By insinuating that the speech was the only thing for which Umar Khalid was arrested, is a gross misrepresentation of facts. In several chargesheets, Umar Khalid’s role in the larger conspiracy has been mentioned in details. The Special Cell has 180 days to file a chargesheet against Umar Khalid specifically, however, his role has been hinted in abundance in the other chargesheets and FIRs filed.
In the chargesheet filed in FIR 114, the role of Umar Khalid in the conspiracy hatched is mentioned clearly. It says that Tahir Hussain was connected to Khalid Saifi of United Against Hate Group and through Saifi, he was also in touch with Umar Khalid. Khalid Saifi, it says, had arranged a meeting between Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain on the 8th of January at Shaheen Bagh. In that meeting, it was decided to take ‘big action’ so the government gets shaken up on the issue of CAA and NRC and also, ensure that the international community takes notice of that action.
In the chargesheet, it is also mentioned that Umar Khalid had told Tahir Hussain not to be concerned about the funding for the riots as Popular Front of India (PFI) would provide the funding as well logistic support. It was categorically mentioned that the riots were to take place when President Donald Trump would visit India.
In the chargesheet, as reported, here is a flowchart of the coordination between Umar Khalid, Pinjra Tod ‘activists’, Khalid Saifi and Tahir Hussain.
From everything that is alleged in the chargesheet, it is clear that Umar Khalid was perhaps one of the masterminds who was also constantly in touch with Pinjra Tod activists who are also accused of grave sections. Khalid Saifi of UAH, who is also a close associate of Umar Khalid was coordinating with Tahir Hussain after their initial meeting in Shaheen Bagh on the 8th of January. Further, Tahir Hussain was coordinating with other rioters and instigators.
Now that Umar Khalid has been arrested, the Special Cell will have 180 days to file a chargesheet against Umar Khalid. So far, a chargesheet has not specifically filed against Umar Khalid, however, in several chargesheets, including FIR 114 and FIR 59, the role of Umar Khalid is mentioned explicitly.
In the subsequent chargesheet that will be filed, the evidence that the police has against Umar Khalid and further details of his role in the riots is likely to be revealed. However, to say that he has been arrested simply because of speech is far from the truth, even though his speech itself was not ‘peaceful’ and ‘innocent’ by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, from the association between Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain, one can even argue that Umar Khalid had a significant role to play in the murder of Ankit Sharma.