Activist Umar Khalid’s lawyer on Monday asked a court in the national Capital why the police had allowed the February 2020 North East Delhi riots to take place when a witness had informed them about the plan to instigate violence, The Indian Express reported.
Senior Advocate Trideep Pais was arguing for Khalid’s bail plea in a case related to the communal violence that broke out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26 last year.
The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.
Khalid has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act along with two students of the city’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar.
In the last few hearings, Khalid’s counsel, Pais, has been reading out statements of protected witnesses and often raised doubts about their authenticity.
During the last hearing on November 8, the lawyer had alleged that the statements had been “concocted” to implicate Khalid.
At the proceedings on Monday, Pais told the Delhi court that the statements were “written by the police and given to the witnesses to endorse”, The Times of India reported.
The advocate was specifically talking about a protected witness who claimed have met Seelampur station house office in January 2020, a month before the riots took place in North East Delhi. The witness allegedly gave all the information about the violence to the police.
“If you are in touch with SHO, then why did you not ensure that nothing went on?” Pais asked, according to The Indian Express. “What happened? They are such ideal citizens...they say such noble thoughts and are in touch with the police...isn’t it apparent that these witnesses were procured?”
The police have accused Khalid of conducting a secret meeting in Seelampur to plan the North East Delhi riots.
“So Seelampur SHO knew everything,” Pai said. “How did we have riots in the city? This brilliant intelligence that he had about this and he did not register a first information report.”
Khalid’s counsel also pointed out the difference between another witness’s statements given to the police and magistrate. The witness had not spoken about the purported Seelampur meeting to the police but had “miraculously remembered it after seven days” before the magistrate, according to Pais.
Meanwhile, Khalid has also been accused by the police of involving women and children in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Indian Express reported. Khalid’s counsel argued that such an act, which pertains to the advocacy of law, was not a crime.