New Delhi: Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the North-east Delhi violence alleged conspiracy case, told a Delhi Court on Monday that there were various contradictions in the police's claims and called it a "cooked up" case. He has sought bail in the case.
Khalid, along with several others, has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA. They are accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
Trideep Pais, Khalid's lawyer, told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that the FIR was cooked up and unnecessary, and was used selectively to target and frame them.
The counsel pointed to two contradictions in Delhi Police's claims. Firstly, he showed the court a 21-minute video clip of Khalid's speech in Maharashtra, which the prosecution had allegedly labelled inflammatory.
The lawyer, pursuant to showing the video, apprised the court that his client did not give any call for violence through the speech and in fact gave a message of unity to the people.
“A message of unity based on Gandhi ji was given by Umar Khalid that day. It was termed as terror. Content is not seditious. He is talking about democratic power. He referred to Gandhi,” Pais added.
Second, he argued that as per the police case, Khalid conspired with other accused on January 8 to cause riots during former US President Donald Trump's visit, however, the news about his visit was announced only in February.
“These are the kind of lies they are peddling. This is a joke. This FIR is a cooked-up theory. Is it that easy to prosecute people? Do you have no responsibility as a prosecution?” Pais said.
Delhi Police had recently said that the bail plea has no merit and that it will demonstrate the prima facie case against him before the court by referring to the charge sheet filed in the case.
In April, the former Jawaharlal Nehru University student was granted bail in one of the riot cases. The court while granting him bail noted that he was not physically present at the scene of the crime on the date of the incident.
Besides him, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under the stringent law in the case.
Anti-CAA Protests: Sharjeel Imam Bail Hearing
New Delhi: JNU student Sharjeel Imam, arrested for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens (CAA and NRC), told a Delhi court on Monday that he cannot be hammered with sedition as his speeches did not call for violence.
Imam has moved the court seeking bail in a case related to speeches made by him at two universities in 2019, where he allegedly threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India. He has been arrested under UAPA and sedition.
During the hearing, advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, representing the accused, apprised Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that no part of his speech called for any kind of violence to be initiated.
“When Sharjeel Imam says that this piece of legislation (CAA/NRC) is unconstitutional, and seeks to persuade the government to rethink and says if you don't do it, we will be on the streets, he cannot be hammered by sedition,” the counsel asserted.
He further said that the right to protest, the right to blockade, and the right to bring the country to a standstill is not equal to an act of sedition.
“The speech did not call for violence. He just called for a road blockade. He did not say that the northeast should become a different state and declare independence. That would have been seditious,” advocate Mir added.
He emphasised that Imam is not a member of any banned organisation or terrorist gang but is merely a student.
The alleged inflammatory speeches were made at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019. He is in judicial custody since January 28, 2020.
Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he allegedly gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.