A Delhi court on Wednesday deferred its order on the bail plea of activist Umar Khalid in a case related to communal violence in Delhi in February 2020, Bar and Bench reported. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said the order was “under correction” and reserved the verdict for 12 pm on Thursday.
This is for the third time that Khalid’s bail order has been deferred after the court had on March 3 reserved its verdict.
The bail order was to be passed initially on March 14, but was postponed to March 21 after the court said that the defence lawyers had not filed their written submissions in the case. On March 21, it was again deferred to March 23 after Justice Rawat said that the court was not ready.
Khalid was arrested along with several other activists after clashes 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, 2020. 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 connection with the Delhi violence case. Zargar was granted bail in June 2020 on humanitarian grounds.
In their first information report, the police alleged that Khalid made provocative speeches at two protest sites and had appealed to the people of Delhi to hold demonstrations in the streets during former United States President Donald Trump’s visit to India, which had coincided with the violence in the national Capital.
The FIR also said that Khalid aimed to spread “propaganda at the global level” about how religious minorities in India were being mistreated.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, while opposing the bail plea of Khalid, had argued that the riots in the national capital were “clearly a criminal conspiracy” aimed at bringing the government “to its knees”. He had claimed that the riots were planned secretly, and were not just a “spontaneous burst of violence”.
However, Khalid’s counsel had told the court that the prosecution lacked evidence to prove its case and said it was based on video clips run by television channels. The counsel had said that allegations against Khalid were the product of the “fertile imagination” of the investigation officer in the case.