A Delhi court has rejected a plea to produce activists Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi in handcuffs before it on grounds that they are “high risk prisoners”, reported Live Law on Sunday. Khalid and Saifi are in prison in connection with cases related to the communal violence that broke out in Delhi in February last year.

The court observed that the accused were not previous convicts or “even gangsters”. “The applications appear to have been filed in a mechanical manner, without application of mind by the high echelon of Delhi Police and prison authority,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said.

The judge also said that the plea was not needed at this stage as the accused were not being produced in the court physically due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported PTI.

In the last hearing on April 22, the court had sought a report from the special cell of the Delhi Police and the jail superintendent on the plea on the matter.

In his reply filed on May 6, the additional deputy commissioner of police (special cell) said that no such application for producing the accused in handcuffs was filed before any court or other authority.

However, the deputy police commissioner of the third battalion on April 26 said that the police decided to have Khalid and Saifi produced in handcuffs before the court after armed assailants tried to free an undertrials prisoner at GTB Hospital. The police officer said that they wanted permission for high-risk prisoners who are prone to escape.

After going through the submissions, the court said the replies show that the applications were “devoid of merits”. “The Delhi Prison Rules are silent about the handcuffing and putting fetters upon the prisoners,” the court said, dismissing the application.

Khalid was arrested on October 1 in connection with the Delhi riots case. 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.

He was granted bail in one of the cases related to the Delhi violence on April 13. However, the activist is still in prison due to the charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in another case related to the Delhi violence.

He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in September in a separate case relating to a larger conspiracy in the violence. The Delhi Police had on November 22 filed a chargesheet against Khalid and student activists Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in the case.

In the 200-page chargesheet, the police claimed that Khalid had “remotely controlled” the Delhi riots. The activist was accused of orchestrating the violence during United States President Donald Trump’s visit to Delhi.

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 Amendment 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.