Delhi

Prosecution draws parallel between Delhi riots, 9/11

Umar Khalid speaking during a protest against CAA-NRC at Jantar Mantar. File photo
Arnabjit SurJanuary 29, 2022 12:15 IST
Updated: January 29, 2022 12:17 IST

Anti-CAA protest sites carefully planned, court told

Opposing former JNU student leader Umar Khalid’s bail plea in the north-east Delhi riots “larger conspiracy” case, the prosecution on Friday sought to draw a parallel between the planning that went into the February 2020 violence and the 9/11 terror attacks in the U.S.

Referring to the defence arguments about Mr. Khalid’s case being similar to The Trial of the Chicago 7 — a movie on the trial of seven defendants charged by the U.S. government with conspiracy after countercultural protests in Chicago in 1968 — Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad said the 9/11 attacks were more relevant.

“Just before 9/11 happened, they [the accused] reached a particular place and took training. A month prior to that [9/11], they moved to their respective positions. That is what is relevant in this [Delhi riots] case also,” he submitted before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat.

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He said the key conspirator of 9/11 had never visited the U.S. or Malaysia, where the plot was hatched, and then referred to the fact that despite conversations in the Delhi Protest Support Group pointing to a violent protest, Mr. Khalid continued to be part of the WhatsApp group and “remained silent”.

The defence counsel had earlier argued that Mr. Khalid sent only five messages on the group.

Amravati speech

The prosecution also played Mr. Khalid’s Amravati speech of February 2020 and argued that he had attempted to create an “ aatank ka mahaul ” (feeling of terror) among Muslims. The SPP said at one point in his speech, Mr. Khalid used the term “We, Muslims” even though he claims to be an atheist.

Mr. Prasad said contrary to the public perception, the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest sites that sprang up in the run-up to the riots were not “organic” and had been carefully “planned” beforehand.

“The issue was not CAA-NRC… you had to somehow embarrass the government,” the prosecutor submitted, adding that the attempt was to create “a facade of secular protests”.

The prosecution arguments will continue on January 29.

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