Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid on Saturday told a court in Delhi that he’s being subjected to a “vicious” media campaign on his alleged involvement in the North East Delhi violence case, reported PTI. Khalid is in jail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged role in the large-scale communal violence that broke out in the Capital in February.
Khalid also asked for a copy of the chargesheet against him as he would be unable to defend himself during the “media trial” or understand the narrative involving him. Khalid’s counsel sought the copy on Saturday despite a December 2 hearing being fixed to provide copies of the chargesheet.
Following this, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat instructed that Khalid should be provided the chargesheet copy by Saturday. During the proceedings, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad refuted all the allegations.
In the supplementary chargesheet on the Delhi violence, the police claimed that Khalid conspired to cause unrest in Delhi while he was in Patna, where he was asked to speak at an anti-Citizenship Act protest. This, the police alleged, gave him “a perfect alibi” in case the conspiracy was revealed.
The chargesheet, filed on November 22, also attempted to establish a direct link between Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam, who is also in custody in a case related to the February violence in North East Delhi. Imam’s “religious fanaticism” along with his academic legacy and strong public speaking skills served as the “perfect combination” for Khalid, his alleged mentor, the police have claimed.
The Delhi Police filed the supplementary chargesheet before a local court against Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in the case related to the violence. The case pertains to the alleged larger conspiracy that caused the clashes. A court in Delhi accepted the chargesheet on November 24.
Delhi violence and the police investigation
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26 in North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
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.
The Delhi Police claim the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Act. They also 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.
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.