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Delhi riots: Police opposes Umar Khalid’s bail, says ‘idea was to bring govt to knees, destabilise democracy’

Former JNU student Umar Khalid. File

Former JNU student Umar Khalid. File

Delhi Police opposed the bail plea of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid on January 11, saying that the “ultimate objective” of the riots conspiracy was to bring the Government of India to its knees and destabilise the foundation of democracy.

Mr. Khalid and several others have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), a stringent anti-terror law, and are accused of being the “masterminds” of the riots which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured in 2020.

The arguments on their bail pleas have been going on for more than five months.

Opposing his bail plea before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad contested the claims of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid that the investigating agency was communal and the charge sheet in the riots conspiracy case was a “figment of imagination”.

Representing the police, the SPP said, “The ultimate objective was to overthrow the Government and undermine the authority of the Parliament, which enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act CAA and destabilise the very foundation of the democracy.

“The idea was to bring the government of India on its knees and enforce the withdrawal of CAA. It is not that I am making the statement. This is evident from the chats which clearly state that government has to be brought to its knees.”

Mr. Prasad further relied on the charge sheet to claim that the 2020 riots were not a spontaneous outburst of violence.

“From the charge sheet, we have demonstrated that 23 protest sites were created and those sites were not organic in nature. They were meticulously planned with the location which was in close proximity to the masjids [Mosques],” he said.

“Multiple teams were formed to monitor these sites, give logistic supports, there were remote supervisors, local leaders, people who were visiting. We have also demonstrated the use of identical placards and banners at different protest sites which clearly shows that they were not organic and created in a coordinated manner,” he added.

Mr. Prasad said the protests were not woman-dominated, rather they were managed by menfolk, and protest sites were swelled by bringing in women from the outside.

“We have also demonstrated from the charge sheet that there was a clear interrelation between December 2019 riots and the February 2020 one. A similar pattern of crime was followed — blocking of roads attacking police, destructing properties, and violence with public and police,” he said.

The charge sheet disclosed that 53 people died, he said, adding that 101 police officers and 41 public persons were injured in the first phase of riots in December 2019. In the second phase, 132 police officers and 76 public persons were injured.

“There was clearly a case of death and injuries to persons. Total damage and claim settlement amount to Rs 21.93 crore. 61 claims have been settled and more are yet to be settled,” the SPP said.

The investigation in the case revealed that firearms, petrol bombs, acid attacks, sticks, iron rods, stone-pelting through pre-fabricated large-sized slingshots were used to attack and kill police personnel, government employees, and public persons, he added.

Mr. Prasad further said that Mr. Khalid, through his lawyer, focused on “irrelevant materials” while arguing his bail application in a bid to divert the court’s attention.

“He [Umar] wants his application to be decided with reference to a web series and present case to be equated with ‘The Family Man’ or ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’. You do not have something on merit, you want to divert the attention of the court, focus on irrelevant materials, you want to go on media trial, create headlines,” the SPP said.

On September 3, 2021, Mr. Khalid, through senior advocate Trideep Paid, said that the charge sheet in the case read like a script from a web-series ‘The Family Man’ and news channels. The lawyer also gave a reference to Voldemort, a villain in Harry Potter movies, to draw parallels between the statements in the charge sheet. Again on December 9, he referred to ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ in the courtroom.

On this, the SPP said, “To equate the riots where 53 lives were lost with a web series is unfortunate. He does not want to refer to the law laid down by the constitutional courts. The idea is that you create a public perception. You want to refer to something which is relevant in media and not the law. The entire submission has been made on surmises and conjectures.” He further emphasised that the court cannot go on a speculative analysis.

Besides this, Mr. Prasad opposed the alleged claims made by Mr. Khalid that the investigation agency and the investigating officer are communal.

“I do not appreciate my learned friend arguing that the investigation agency and the Investigating officer are communal. The investigation agency is not of a particular person, it’s of a State. The first conviction in the riots case was that of a Hindu. To say that investigation agency is communal does not go well,” he submitted.

In the last hearing, Mr. Khalid, through his lawyer, said that advocacy against a law like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is not a crime and that the police pressured the witnesses to give statements against him.


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Printable version | May 12, 2022 9:42:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-riots-police-opposes-umar-khalids-bail-says-idea-was-to-bring-govt-to-knees-destabilise-democracy/article38234797.ece