Umar Khalid denied bail in Delhi riots conspiracy case
In a "larger conspiracy" case relating to the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, Delhi's Karkardooma Court on Thursday denied bail to activist Umar Khalid. Khalid was detained by police on September 14, 2020, and is currently being held at Delhi's Tihar jail. The order issued by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat comes after the court had postponed the decision on Khalid's bail petition thrice earlier.
Why does this story matter?
Umar Khalid is accused of being one of the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured. He is charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Only six out of the 18 people have been granted bail in the Delhi riots' larger conspiracy case. The accused argues the prosecution lacked evidence to prove its case.
Arguments for Umar Khalid's bail
Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, representing Khalid, argued that the entire charge sheet filed by Delhi Police is a fabrication. The case against him is merely based on video clips broadcast by two TV channels—Republic TV and Network 18—showing a truncated version of his speech, Pais argued. He claimed that Khalid's speech was about Gandhi, harmony, and the Constitution, which isn't a crime.
Arguments against Khalid's bail
The prosecution claimed that Umar Khalid was a "veteran of sedition" and the "silent whispers behind the first phase of the 2020 riots," which took place in 2019 during the movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC). According to the prosecution, there are incriminating WhatsApp conversations that were allegedly used in the "execution of the conspiracy."
Arguments on WhatsApp chats without merit: Defense
The defense lawyer argued that these were merely rhetorical allegations with no evidence. He also said the arguments about incriminating WhatsApp chats were without merit since Khalid sent only four messages on the Delhi Protest Support WhatsApp Group. Khalid also argued that the statements in the charge sheet are "figments of imagination" and resembled a "9 pm script of shouting news channels."
Who all have been booked in the case?
The Delhi riots took place after the conclusion of the 2020 Delhi assembly elections and during the anti-CAA/NRC movement. In addition to Umar Khalid, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain, and others, including some professors and social activists, have been charged in the case under the stringent UAPA law.Share this timeline