[Delhi Riots 2020] "Umar Khalid's role in context of conspiracy & riots apparent": Delhi Court

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A Delhi Court has found that "reasonable grounds" for believing that the accusations against Umar Khalid, an accused in the Delhi Riots larger conspiracy cases are prima facie true. 

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma Court has found that Khalid's name is a "recurring mention" from the beginning of the conspiracy till the riots & that there are numerous statements of witnesses (recorded before magistrate and before the police) highlighting "incriminating material" against the accused Umar Khalid.

"From a broad reading of all the statements, the role of the accused Umar Khalid in the context of conspiracy and riots is apparent," said the court, while rejecting the argument of Khalid's counsel that the statements are either false being delayed or contradictory or could be concocted or coerced and should not be relied upon.

Court has said that the contention of Khalid's lawyer that his client is a "researcher and his bent of mind can be assessed from his doctoral thesis on Welfare aspects of Adivasis of Jharkhand and other writings" - is not a relevant consideration for deciding his bail application.

"If the bent of mind is to be assessed in this manner, then the co ­accused Sharjeel Imam has written thesis on riots but any thesis or research work, by itself, done by any accused cannot be a ground for assessing mens rea or his bent of mind. A bail application must be decided on facts presented in charge­sheet," the Court noted.

One of the protected witness "GAMA" has stated that Umar Khalid had come to protest sites and was giving provocative speeches there. 

Another protected witness BEETA's statement discloses that there is a video wherein "Umar Khalid gave a speech in Amrawati, Maharashtra stating that Trump is coming to India and they have to show their power by coming on to the roads", after which chakka jam's began happening at various sides. The witness stated that it was then that he realized that the entire protest has been done in a planned manner. 

"ECHO", a protected witness stated that Umar Khalid had told Gulfisha Fatima that speeches will not work and that "they all have to understand that government is against Muslims and they will have to spill blood".

"CRYPTON" says in his statement that a protest site was created at C­ Block, Eidgah Park at Jahangir Puri on 06.02.2020 and ladies living nearby alongwith illegal Bangladeshis joined it.

"As directed on 10.02.2020, he took 250 people to Jantar Mantar where among others was Umar Khalid at the stage, Dr. S.Q. Iliyas introduced his son. On the night of 23.02.2020, he came to know that the buses carrying the Bangladeshi women were taken from Shaheen Bagh to Jafrabad, Seelampur where they had done stone pelting and riots," Court states

"HOTEL" has stated that Khalif Saifi, Umar Khalid, Asif Tanha & Meeran Haider used to say that muslims would face problems as they would have to show documents, failing which they would be sent to detention centre.

"In one of such meetings, Nadeem Khan said that they will talk of Hindu­Muslim unity from the stage and protest being peaceful but our real intention is to do chakka­jam and when it is assembled in good numbers to do stone pelting on police," Court points out from the protected witness's statement given before a magistrate.

Protected witness "JULIET" stated in his statement before magistrate that various people including Umar Khalid, Chandrashekhar Azad, Vrinda Karat & Swami Agnivesh used to come to Shaheen bagh and said that 
"CAA/NRC was against muslims" and that if they did not oppose it, they'd be sent to detention camps.

On September 13,2020 Khalid was arrested in connection with communal clashes that broke out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, after violence between Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters became out of control  leaving many people dead and several injured.

Khalid was granted bail in April, 2021 in another case but has been behind bars in Tihar Jail over conspiracy charges under UAPA. 

During the course of trial, the SPP Amit Prasad had argued that, under the garb of secularism and upholding tenets of democracy, Umar Khalid led a larger conspiracy which was communal and eventually led to the Delhi Riots in 2020.

"He tried to create “Aatank ka Mahaul” in his speeches and said “hum musalmano ko”. Note that Umar Khalid claims to be atheist. What is his identity really? At least Sharjeel Imam has strength to say I am what I am! His (Umar Khalid) speeches do not refer to lynchings met out to Kamlesh Tiwari and others but his concern is only for one community but.... he claims himself to be atheist!Prasad had stated.

On the other hand, the Adv. Trideep Pais had argued represented the former JNU student Umar Khalid in an FIR registered against him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots and,had stated that the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against Khalid did not read like a chargesheet but the script of “The Family Man” series. he had also pointed out that the words used in the chargesheet for Khalid like “Umar Khalid, a veteran of sedition” etc made it look like it was a biography on Khalid.

However, on March 14, the court granted bail to UAPA accused Ishrat Jahan in the larger conspiracy case relating to the 2020 North-East Delhi riots case. Besides Ishrat Jahan, several others including Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Safoora Zargar,  Asif Iqbal Tanha and former Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain, have also been booked under the UAPA.

Further, on March, 23 the Court denied bail to accused Mohd. Saleem Khan who was also an accused in Delhi riots larger conspiracy case noting that, he was one of organizers of the Chand Bagh protest site where inflammatory speeches were given - a fact which was supported by witness statements. 

Case Title: State Vs. Tahir Husain & Ors.

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Read More: [Delhi Riots] "Mobilisation bolstered by co-conspirators, undercurrents of violence apparent": Prosecutor to Delhi Court

Read More: "Gulfisha Fatima prompted attack on police with weapons, having cascading effect leading to riots": Delhi Court rejects Bail