A court in Delhi on Thursday sent former Jawaharlal Nehru University student and activist Umar Khalid to judicial custody till October 22, PTI reported. Khalid has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged role in the February violence in the Capital.
Khalid was arrested on September 11 by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, after nearly 11 hours of questioning. He has been accused of being one of the main conspirators involved in the violence. He has also been charged with sedition and 18 other sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder and attempt to murder.
The police claimed that Khalid conspired to engineer the communal violence in Delhi during United States President Donald Trump’s visit to India earlier this year “so that a propaganda may be ashed at international forum that the Muslim minority community in India are being tortured”.
But the police are yet to furnish evidence to back the allegation. On September 1, Khalid wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava alleging that the Special Cell investigators were coercing acquaintances to sign declarations to implicate him in the case.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
The Delhi Police claim the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was hatched by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Act. They further claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the façade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.
On September 16, the Delhi Police filed a 17,000-page chargesheet and named 15 persons as accused in the case. Narwal, Kalita, Jamia Millia Islamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, United Against Hate co-founder Khalid Saifi and former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan are among the others named by the police. The chargesheet, however, does not name Khalid.