A Delhi Court refused bail to so-called activist and former JNU student Umar Khalid on Thursday in connection with a case pertaining to the bigger conspiracy in the 2020 Delhi riots, involving offences under the Indian Penal Code and UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).
The order was issued today by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat.
Umar Khalid’s counsel contended that the whole charge sheet issued by Delhi Police in FIR 59/2020 is fictitious and that the evidence against him is based on video excerpts shown on television channels Republic TV and News 18 that show a shortened version of his speech. He further claimed that the television networks Republic TV and News 18 broadcasted a shortened version of a speech made by Khalid in Amravati, Maharashtra, on February 17, last year.
Umar’s lawyer further said that while the rallies against the Citizenship Amendment Act were secular, the charge sheet issued by the Delhi Police was sectarian.
The prosecution countered that Umar Khalid intended to create an impression by alluding to the web series ‘Family Man’ and the film ‘Trial of Chicago 7’ and had nothing to say on the merits of the case. The prosecution had also objected to Umar Khalid’s contention that the Investigation Agency and Investigating Officer were communal.
The prosecution had maintained, using Section 15 of the UAPA Act, which defines a terrorist act, that the riots were methodically organized and that there was damage of property, interruption of critical services, use of petrol bombs, lathis, stones, etc.
The prosecution also asserted that the 2020 sit-in protests were well organized, with key protest sites chosen to be closer to 25 mosques. He said that these sites had religious importance but were given secular names on purpose to give the supposed communal protest legitimacy.
The FIR filed against Khalid includes serious allegations such as Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act of 1984. He is also charged with a number of offenses listed in the Indian Penal Code of 1860.
The Delhi Police apprehended Umar Khalid on September 13, 2020, and charged him on November 22, 2020, under several provisions of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code. In July 2021, Khalid filed a bail application.
Former Congress Councilor Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, and Shifa-UrRehman, suspended AAP Councilor Tahir Hussain, activist Khalid Saifi, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Salim Malik, Mohd Salim Khan, and Athar Khan are among those facing trial in the anti-Hindu Delhi riots case.