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Framed By Press; Delhi Police Case Based On Truncated Speech Clips Shown By Republic TV, News18 : Umar Khalid In Bail Hearing

Nupur Thapliyal
23 Aug 2021 11:53 AM GMT
Framed By Press; Delhi Police Case Based On Truncated Speech Clips Shown By Republic TV, News18 : Umar Khalid In Bail Hearing
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Seeking bail in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case involving charges under UAPA, student activist Umar Khalid told a Delhi Court that the entire chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in FIR 59/2020 is a fabrication and that the case against him is based on the video clips run by Republic TV and News 18 showing a truncated version of his speech. Refuting the prosecution's allegations,...

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Seeking bail in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case involving charges under UAPA, student activist Umar Khalid told a Delhi Court that the entire chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in FIR 59/2020 is a fabrication and that the case against him is based on the video clips run by Republic TV and News 18 showing a truncated version of his speech.

Refuting the prosecution's allegations, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais argued before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that news channels Republic TV and News 18 ran truncated version of a speech delivered by Khalid at Amravati, Maharashtra on February 17 last year.

"Delhi police has nothing but Republic TV and CNN-News18 for the case", the lawyer submitted.

Pais alleged that News18 omitted a crucial statement made by Khalid regarding need for unity and harmony from the video telecasted by it.

As regards, Republic TV, Pais read out a reply letter from the channel in which it stated that its clip was based on a tweet made by BJP member Amit Malviya. Pais read out to the Court the reply given by Republic TV to a demand made by police under Section 91 CrPC for a copy of the video footage. "The footage was not recorded by our cameraperson. It was tweeted by Mr. Amit Malviya..", the reply by Republic TV said.

Calling it a "death of journalism" in India, Pais remarked,

"Your material is a YouTube video which is copied from a tweet. The journalist did not even have the responsibility to go there. It's not a journalistic ethic. This is death of journalism."

Pais further alleged that News 18 channel deleted sentences from the speech, thus changing its meaning and context. "It makes a world of a difference...a message of unity based on Gandhiji was given that day and that was termed as a terror," he remarked.


"I have been framed by the press. Why did they leave other parts of speech? Quite apart from the fact that nothing happened on (February) 17th, you come upon this speech in March," Pais submitted.

He added, "On March 6 when you said he gave speeches, what did you have? You had a speech which was copied from a tweet and that story came in July by the time you had arrested 18 persons."

Pais continued that in his speech, Khalid was talking about democratic power. He did not call for violence/ violent methods.Pais also played the full clip of Khalid's speech for the Court.

Conspiracy to create riots during ex-US President Trump's visit to India

As per the prosecution allegations, Khalid had conspired with other accused on January 8, 2020 to create riots during President Trump's visit to India. 

Controverting this theory, Pais submitted that news about Trump's visit was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs only on February 11, 2020.

"They tell you I knew about Trump's visit on January 8 when the MEA did not know? This is a fantastic theory...Thanks to actual journalism the truth came out," Pais said referring to a report published by 'The Quint'.



On Fabrication of FIR Contents

Pais began by submitting that the FIR 59/2020 registered by the Delhi Police against Khalid and others was completely unnecessary and had been drafted and filed in order to target people selectively, based on their opposition to Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

"You did not have a case on March 6. All the 750 FIRs in riots have distinct offences. But the submission I'm making is, when those FIRs were registered, there were crimes. But this FIR, had no such thing. It was framed in such a broad manner so that you can get statements in order to frame people," Pais argued.

Calling all the statements an afterthought of the Delhi Police, Pais submitted that the chargesheet filed in the matter was a complete fabrication.

"Statements are cooked up which have no relation to physical evidence. Everyone in this FIR, nobody should have been arrested and this FIR should not have been registered," he added.

Arguing that the prosecution had no evidence or material to support their case from the starting point, Pais also submitted that statements and evidences were collected days after the registration of FIR and commission of cognizable offences.

"Laughable statements have been made. What will the prosecution achieve from this? The purpose of this FIR is not to bring home guilt, it's hypocrisy. None of the people in this FIR should be held in custody," Pais submitted.

He added, "The day you registered the case, you said there were speeches. Later you said there was a secret informer. Neither you have the secret informer, nor the speeches."

Khalid extending full cooperation

Pais also argued that there is no need to keep Khalid in custody as he has been fully cooperating in the investigation. "I am interrogated for the first time in this case on July 30. I'm called and I appear immediately. Absolutely no delay...I had to travel via Gauhati to reach but I reached. My arrest in this FIR was also pursuant to a notice to appear. I was not picked up from anywhere," he submitted.

The Court will continue the hearing on September 3.

The FIR against Khalid contains stringent charges including Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984. The accused are also charged under various offences mentioned under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

In September last year, main chargesheet was filed against Pinjara Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha and student activist Gulfisha Fatima.

Others who were charge-sheeted included former Congress Councilor Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Shifa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councilor Tahir Hussain, activist Khalid Saifi, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Salim Malik, Mohd Salim Khan and Athar Khan.

Thereafter, a supplementary chargesheet was filed in November against former JNU student leader Umar Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam in a case related to the alleged larger conspiracy in the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February.

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