Delhi Riots: Prosecution Concludes Arguments In Umar Khalid's Bail Appeal Before High Court, Says Trial Court Dealt With Every Aspect

Update: 2022-09-07 12:24 GMT

The Delhi Police on Wednesday concluded its submissions in the bail plea filed by former JNU student Umar Khalid in the larger conspiracy case concerning the 2020 riots.

Opposing the grant of bail, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad argued in support of the trial court order denying bail to Umar Khalid before a special bench comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar, which was hearing Khalid's appeal.

"Trial Court has dealt with every recorded evidence, the trial court says that I will not deal with the infirmities at that stage," Prasad told the Bench.

The matter will now be heard on Friday next, when Senior Advocate Trideep Pais will make submissions in rejoinder.

The prosecution has argued that the speeches made by various accused persons in the FIR in question had a 'common factor', essence of which was to create a sense of fear in the Muslim population of the country.

The prosecution had specifically referred to the speeches made by Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Khalid Saifi to argue that they were all connected with each other at the relevant time as a part of conspiracy to commit 2020 riots.

During the previous course of hearings, Prasad had also called the speech given by Umar Khalid at Amravati in February 2020 as a 'calculated speech' for the reason that it not only referred to CAA and NRC, the focal point of protests, but also other issues specifically relating to one community.

It is also the prosecution's case that there was misinformation which was spread during riots, creation of 24x7 protest sites which were moved strategically to cause blockade of roads, followed by attack on police personnel and paramilitary forces. Prasad had also argued that there was spread of violence in non-Muslim areas, damage to public properties and use of petrol bombs and other elements.

The prosecution had also submitted that the 24x7 sit in protest sites were planned and organised and were situated in close proximity to masjids. It was also argued that Shaheen Bagh protest was not an independent movement and was not driven by women protestors.

Prasad also argued that the 24x7 sit in protests had speakers and performers as a "source of entertainment" so that such sites are able to sustain.

Umar Khalid was denied bail by city's Karkardooma Court on March 24. He was arrested on 13 September, 2020 and has been under custody since.

About the Trial Court Order

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat was of the view that Khalid had connectivity with many accused persons and that his presence throughout in several WhatsApp groups during the period beginning from the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in December 2019 till the February 2020 riots, had to be read in totality and not piecemeal.

On the other contention raised by Pais that Umar Khalid was not present in Delhi during the time of riots, the Court was of the view that in a case of a conspiracy, it is not necessary that every accused should be present at the spot.

Thus, perusing the charge­sheet and accompanying documents, the Court was of the opinion that allegations against the Umar Khalid were prima facie true and hence the bar for grant of bail as per Section 43D of the UAPA was attracted.

The Court noted that Umar Khalid's name finds a recurring mention from the beginning of the conspiracy till the riots. He was a member of WhatsApp groups of Muslim students of JNU. He participated in various meetings. He gave reference to Mr.Donald Trump in his Amaravati speech. He was instrumental in creation of JCC. He was also mentioned in the flurry of calls that happened post-riots.

The Court opined that target was to block roads at mixed population areas and encircle the entire area completely stopping the entry and exit of citizens living there and then creating panic to attack on police personnel by women protesters in front only followed by other ordinary people and engulfing the area into a riots and the same would be covered by the definition of terrorist act under Section 15 of the UAPA.

Case Title: Umar Khalid v. State

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