‘Ensure Khalid is given same treatment as other inmates’

A Delhi court on Friday asked Tihar jail authorities to ensure that former JNU student Umar Khalid, who was arrested in connection with north-east Delhi riots, is given the same treatment as other inmates and allowed to move outside his cell.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat also asked Tihar jail authorities to allow Mr. Khalid to get books and warm clothes in view of the onset of winter.

Mr. Khalid, on Thursday, during a videoconferencing hearing on an application moved by the Special Public Prosecutor for a 30-day extension of his judicial custody, claimed that he was not allowed to step out of his cell akin to “solitary confinement”.

‘Security reasons’

Tihar jail Superintendent, who appeared before the court through videoconferencing, said Mr. Khalid has been provided all the facilities as other inmates and he is taken out of his cell on a regular basis. The Superintendent said the decision to restrict his movement was taken in view of security reasons.

“I understand that there is a safety and security issue, but that cannot become the norm. The norm is to keep him out,” Judge Rawat said.

The Jail Superintendent, in his reply, also stated that “the cell where the inmate [Khalid] is kept is located at such a place from where more than half of the ward movement is visible”.

Reacting to this, Judge Rawat said, “What do you want to say from this? This is a very strange and bizarre thing to say.”

During the hearing, Mr. Khalid said that after the issue was brought to the attention of the court on Thursday, the Jail Superintendent came to meet him and took him out of his cell. “When an order was passed by Additional Superintendent Pradeep Sharma that I will not be allowed to go out at all, the condition became very acute for me over the last few days,” Mr. Khalid said.

Judge Rawat also asked Mr. Khalid to cooperate with the jail authorities in view of the security risk being posed to him.

The Jail Superintendent said that they have around 50-60 inmates coming in on a daily basis whose credentials are unknown to them. In view of this, Mr. Khalid’s security aspect is to be considered, he said.

The court also extended till November 20 the judicial custody of Mr. Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam in the case.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 2:00:47 AM |

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