A Delhi court on Tuesday accepted the fresh supplementary chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against student activists Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in connection with the violence that broke out in North East Delhi in February, reported PTI.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said there was sufficient material to proceed against the accused, all of whom have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in what is known as the Delhi riots conspiracy case. They have also been booked under the Arms Act, and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
While the court decided to proceed Khalid, Imam and Khan for the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, it did not take cognisance of the offences of sedition, criminal conspiracy and “some other charges” under the Indian Penal Code as certain “sanctions were awaited”.
Judge Rawat, therefore, took cognisance of the offences under sections 13 (unlawful activities), 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy) of the UAPA. The accused have also been chargesheeted under sections 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (instructing public servant), 201 (disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court further took cognisance of offences under sections 212 (harbouring offender), 295 (destruction of place of worship), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), 353 (assault to deter public servant), 395 (dacoity), 419 (cheating), 420 (cheating), 427 (mischief), 435 (mischief by fire), 436 (mischief by fire), 452 (house trespass), 454 (house breaking), 468 (forgery), 471 (using forged document as genuine) and 34 (common intention) of IPC and under relevant sections of the Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act.
The court directed the police to give soft copies of the supplementary chargesheet to the counsel for the accused on December 2. However, it did not allow them to submit physical copies to the accused.
The matter has been listed for further hearing on December 22.
In the 200-page chargesheet filed on Sunday, the Delhi Police alleged that Khalid had “remotely controlled” the riots that had killed 53 people. The former Jawaharlal Nehru University student allegedly orchestrated the violence during the visit of United States President Donald Trump’s visit. The aim of the protests was to attract international attention and put pressure on the “anti-minority” Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the chargesheet said.
The police report claimed that Khalid fostered “nationwide alliances with like-minded people” after the new citizenship law was approved by the Cabinet. He allegedly mentored a group called Muslim Students of JNU with Imam’s help, the police said in the chargesheet.
The police added that Khalid had identified Chand Bagh and Jafrabad as the main spots from where the riots “would be precipitated”. The Delhi Police’s Special Cell claimed to have evidence of a meeting of Khalid’s aides where it is alleged that he outlined the violence.
In September, a case of rioting was registered at the Khajuri Khas Police Station in which 15 people, including suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain, were arrested. All the 15 have been accused under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act. This 17,000-page chargesheet, filed at Karkardooma court, does not have Khalid and Imam’s names as accused in the Delhi riots case.
Delhi violence and the investigation
Khalid was arrested under the UAPA in September in the conspiracy case. The Delhi Police arrested Imam under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act on August 25 for his alleged role in inciting the February violence. Imam was booked for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in December last year and charged under the UAPA in April.
Faizan Khan was arrested on July 29, and there are allegations of him being a part of the conspiracy that caused the riots. He had allegedly supplied and activated a SIM card that was registered fraudulently in the name of Abdul Jabbar. The SIM was, however, used by another accused in the Delhi violence case, Safoora Zargar.
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 facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.