Sunday, April 2, 2023

Delhi Riots 2020: Delhi High Court denies bail to Umar Khalid

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday denied bail to JNU student Umar Khalid, arrested in connection with the Delhi Riots, 2020, under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar observed that no merit was found in the appeal and dismissed the same.

The court staff was directed by Justice Siddharth Mridul to upload the order ‘right away’.

The Court had reserved its verdict on September 9, after hearing the arguments from Senior Advocate Trideep Pais and Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad.

Khalid had approached the High Court to challenge the dismissal of his bail plea by the trial court earlier this year.

Umar Khalid was arrested by Delhi Police in September 2020 on charges of criminal conspiracy, rioting and unlawful assembly as well as several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

He has remained in jail since then.

The arguments in the High Court went on for more than 20 days.

The bail application of former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student was rejected by court in a case registered against him in connection with the riots that took place during February, 2020 in the North-East area of the national capital.

Khalid was arrested under the UAPA for his alleged involvement in the Delhi riots, which led to death of 53 people and injuries to more than 700.

The arguments have continued for the past many months, during which, Defence Lawyer and Senior Counsel Trideep Pais, along with Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appeared for the state.

Pais on one occasion, contended that a number of persons protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the protest was secular in nature, but the charge sheet was communal.

He argued that the case against Khalid was borne out of malice and the charge sheet against him was a result of “fertile imagination” of the police officer who drafted it. He further contended that the witness statements against Khalid were inconsistent and the charge sheet resembled a television serial script.

Prasad, on the contrary, countered the claim that the charge sheet was communal, saying that the first conviction in the case was of a Hindu person.
The prosecution had alleged that the Delhi Riots were part of a premeditated, deep-rooted conspiracy which was hatched by the accused persons.

Referring to Khalid’s speech where he mentioned the visit of US President Donald Trump, the prosecutor argued that Khalid sought to create an environment that was aimed for the international media.

Khalid was also stated to have chosen his words while using terms such as ‘Tiranga’ (tricolour) and ‘Constitution,’ only to avoid the rigmarole of being booked again. According to the prosecutor, he had been booked in 2016 and was careful this time.

The Delhi Police had arrested Khalid in this case on September 13, 2020 and chargesheeted him on November 22 the same year under various sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code. Khalid moved a bail plea in July 2021.

Case title: Umar Khalid vs State of National Capital Territory of Delhi

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