A special court on Monday remanded activist group United Against Hate (UAH) member Umar Khalid in 10 days police custody. Khalid was arrested in the FIR 59/20 by the Delhi police late Sunday night for allegedly masterminding the February communal violence in North-East Delhi that resulted in the deaths of at least 53 people and injuring hundreds.
"Considering the nature of the case and the role of the accused...regarding the conspiracy and involvement in the anti-CAA/NPR/NCR protest with the support of several radical groups/organisation resulting in riots...I deem it fit that, for having an effective and proper investigation.." to allow police custody, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said.
Khalid's arrest came a day after a chargesheet filed in the case pertaining to the death of a 17-year-old riot victim recorded disclosure statements naming Communist Party of India (Marxist) Secretary General Sitaram Yechury, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy who allegedly asked protesters to go to "any extreme", to spread "discontent" in the community by calling CAA/NRC anti-Muslim, and organising demonstrations to "malign the image of Government of India"."
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad submitted that the Special Cell of the Delhi Police—which is probing the case—wanted to confront Khalid with data running into 11 lakh pages. However, Khalid's counsel Trideep Pais objected to 10 days custody saying the Delhi police was being "callous" about people's freedom. "My client has already been interrogated for more than 15 hours," Pais told special judge Amitabh Rawat, adding that Khalid was not even in Delhi when communal riots broke in North-East Delhi.
"This is a case where people have come on record saying they were pressured to give statements against the accused, including Khalid," Pais said. They have even sent a letter to the Commissioner of Police reflecting the same, he added.
Pais further submitted that all the material to raise a good defence was denied by the police. "Everything is hidden behind sensitive", he said. To this, Prasad countered by saying that sanctity of an investigation needed to be maintained under UAPA, hence a lot of material may not be provided.
Delhi riots a "premeditated conspiracy"
Khalid has been charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, charges of rioting, conspiracy, murder and sedition under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Arms Act, 1959.
On March 6, the police filed an FIR against Khalid, a former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader, based on confidential information provided by an informer. However, days later, the Special Cell took over the investigation of the case to probe the "conspiracy" angle.
The FIR states that the Delhi riots were a "premeditated conspiracy" allegedly planned by Khalid and co-accused Danish. Over the next few weeks, 15 others including Congress legislator Ishra Jahan, RJD leader Meeran Haider, Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, DU students Safoora Zargar and Gulfisha Fatima was also arrested in this case.
"Khalid allegedly gave provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to the citizens to come out on the streets and block the roads during the visit of US President Donald Trump to spread propaganda at the international level about how minorities in India are being persecuted," the FIR—which is filed in Hindi—says.
Riots carefully engineered to execute a secessionist movement
The Delhi police have filed 751 FIRs, and three different teams are probing the riots. IN a reply filed before the Delhi High Court, the police submitted that Special Investigation Team (Crime Branch)—59 cases; local police—691 cases; and the Special Cell—1 case, are probing the case.
In the reply filed on July 13 reply, the police also submitted that the riots were a "carefully engineered" conspiracy to "execute a secessionist movement in the country by propagating an armed rebellion against the lawfully constituted government of the day."
According to a disclosure statement made by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain—he is the key accused in the murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma, who died in the riots, met Khalid along with UAH co-founder Khalid Saifi on January 8 to plan the riots which would coincide with United States Of America Donald Trump's visit to India in February.
Boom explains the charges against Khalid.
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