Delhi Riots: Prosecution Concludes its Arguments in HC’s Hearing on Umar Khalid’s Bail Appeal

Umar Khalid Law Insider

Prerna Gala

Published on: September 8, 2022 at 18:24 IST

In the wider conspiracy case, including the 2020 riots, the Delhi Police wrapped up its arguments on Wednesday in the bail request made by former JNU student Umar Khalid.

Before a Special Bench made up of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar, which was hearing Khalid’s appeal, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad opposed the grant of bail and argued in favour of the trial court ruling denying release to Khalid.

“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 case will now be heard the following Friday, when Senior Advocate Trideep Pais will present rebuttal arguments.

The prosecution contends that the speeches made by the several defendants in the FIR in question shared a “common component,” the main purpose of which was to instill terror among the nation’s Muslim population.

In order to prove that Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, and Khalid Saifi were connected to one another at the pertinent time as a part of a conspiracy to commit 2020 riots, the prosecution particularly cited the speeches delivered by each of them.

In the earlier round of hearings, Prasad had also referred to Umar Khalid’s address in Amravati in February 2020 as a “planned statement” because it made reference to other issues pertaining to a single community in addition to the CAA and NRC, the protests’ focus points.

The prosecution also alleges that false information was disseminated during the riots, that protest camps were set up around the clock and intentionally placed to obstruct roadways, and that attacks on police officers followed.

Prasad had also asserted that violence had moved to non-Muslim regions, damaged public property, and used other elements, such as petrol bombs. Additionally, the prosecution claimed that the sit-in protest locations, which were open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, were organised, planned, and adjacent to masjids.

Additionally, it was asserted that the Shaheen Bagh protest was not led by women protesters and was not an independent movement.

In order for such locations to remain in operation, Prasad further noted that the 24-hour sit-in protests featured speakers and artists as a “source of entertainment.”

On March 24, the city’s Karkardooma Court rejected Umar Khalid’s request for bail. He was taken into custody after his arrest on September 13, 2020.

Regarding the Trial Court Order, Extra Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat believed that because Khalid had connections to several of the defendants, it was important to consider his participation in numerous WhatsApp groups from the time the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in December 2019 to the riots in February 2020 as a whole.

Regarding Pais’ additional argument that Umar Khalid was not in Delhi at the time of the riots, the court agreed with Pais that it is not required for all defendants to be present at the scene in a conspiracy prosecution.

Following its review of the charge sheet and related materials, the court came to the conclusion that the charges against Umar Khalid were, at the very least, accurate, and as a result, the provision of Section 43D of the UAPA prohibiting the granting of bail was invoked.

The Court observed that Umar Khalid’s name was frequently brought up throughout the conspiracy and up until the riots.

He participated in JNU Muslim students’ WhatsApp groups. He attended a number of meetings. He mentioned Donald Trump in his speech in Amaravati. In the barrage of phone calls that followed the rioting, he was also mentioned.

The Court stated that the goal was to block roads in mixed-population areas and completely surround the area, preventing citizens from entering and exiting, before inciting panic and provoking attacks on police officers by women protesters in front only, who were then followed by other regular citizens, turning the area into riots, which would fall under the definition of a terrorist act under Section 15 of the UAPA.

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