Delhi riots-accused Umar Khalid granted interim bail for sister's wedding
A Delhi court on Monday granted interim bail to former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid in the 2020 Delhi riots case. According to reports, Khalid was granted bail to attend his sister's wedding. Its duration will be applicable for a period of seven days, the court said. Notably, Khalid has been in jail for more than two years now.
Why does this story matter?
- Khalid is accused of being one of the "masterminds" of the February 2020 Delhi riots that killed 53 people.
- The violence erupted during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
- He was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
- Notably, Khalid was denied bail in the riots case in October this year.
What did the court say?
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Delhi's Karkardooma Court issued Khalid's bail order for seven days from December 23 to December 30. The court also reportedly clarified that the bail will be subject to certain conditions. Khalid was represented by Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, while Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad argued on behalf of the Delhi Police on Monday.
Chargesheet fabricated: Khalid's counsel had argued
During previous bail hearings in the case, Pais argued the charge sheet filed by Delhi Police was a "fabrication." The case against Khalid is merely based on video clips broadcast by two TV channels—Republic TV and Network 18—showing a truncated version of his speech, Pais had argued. He also claimed that Khalid's speech was about Gandhi, harmony, and the Constitution, which wasn't a crime.
Claims by the prosecution
The prosecution earlier claimed that Khalid was a "veteran of sedition" and a "silent whisper" in the first phase of the 2020 riots, which took place in 2019 during the movement against the CAA and the NRC. According to the prosecution, there are incriminating WhatsApp conversations against Khalid that were allegedly used in the "execution of the conspiracy."
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 Khalid, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councilor Tahir Hussain, and others, including some professors and social activists, were charged in the case under the UAPA.