Delhi High Court has denied bail to Umar Khalid, former JNU student, accused under UAPA. Court said that police personnel were attacked during 2020 Delhi riots. It is “epitome of pre-meditated plan” and not “typical agitation”. “These protests metamorphosed into violent riots in February 2020”.
The two judge bench of HC, comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar made many scathing remarks. The bench observed that the weapons used and the manner of the attack indicate pre-meditated nature of protests. The pre-planned nature resulted in deaths during riots.
HC said that it considers the acts that threaten the unity and integrity of India, cause friction in communal harmony and create terror in any section of people by disturbing the social fabric as act of terror.
Court also noted the allegation on Umar Khalid that he planned speeches to internationally defame India. According to Police, Khalid made provocative speeches addressing Muslims at different locations. He encouraged people to come out on streets during US President Donal Trump’s visit to India. The aim was to create a negative image of India. To show that minorities were not safe in India.
The fact that there is no denial that on February 17, 2020 the appellant delivered a speech at Amrawati, Maharashtra referring to the visit of Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, which according to the prosecution heralded the riots of North-East Delhi. The manner in which the administration initially rejected permission for the appellant‟s speech and thereafter how the speech came to be delivered clandestinely on that very day is something which gives credibility to the accusation of the prosecutionDelhi High Court
The Sharjeel Imam connection
The two judge bench also took into account the Umar Khalid’s connection with other co-accused, especially Sharjeel Imam. Both were members of numerous WhatsApp groups. These groups were specifically created to co-ordinate protests against CAA and NRC.
HC stated that the unfolding of events regarding Citizenship Amendment Bill, was very relevant. The Central Cabinet passed the bill on 04/12/2019. The accused had created a WhatsApp group Muslim students of JNU within 1-2 days. Sharjeel Imam was its main member and Umar Khalid was also its member. They formed another WhatsApp group “CAB TEAM” on 08/12/2019. Its members were Yogendra Yadav, Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid, Nadeem Khan and Khalid Saifi.
Court noted that they can not shrug aside the collective reading of events that unfolded on each day after 04/12/2019.
Communal mindset of the accused
Court also relied on the statements of protected witnesses. A part of statement given by protected witness Bond gives an insight into the communal mindset of the accused.
However, we find that BOND stated in his statement that Umar Khalid, Sharjeel, Saiful Islam and Asif Tanha had come to Jamia University campus on 13.12.2019 and the appellant told Sharjeel to start chakka-jam at Shaheen Bagh and Asif and Saiful to start chakka-jam at Gate no. 7 of Jamia University. Umar Khalid said that at the right time, they will also start chakka-jam in other Muslim areas of Delhi. He also said that Government is a Hindu Government and against Muslims and they have to overthrow the government and will do so at the right time.Delhi High Court while denying bail to Umar Khalid