Anti-CAA protest not organic or women-driven, Delhi Police tells court
Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the Delhi Police, said the protests were “organised in Muslim-dominated areas” to create a secular facade.
New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Saturday told a city court that the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in north east Delhi in 2020 were “neither organic” nor “women-driven”, and that they were “organised at Muslim-dominated areas” in the poorest localities of the city to create a secular facade and use them as “cannon fodder” to increase participation.
Opposing the bail application of JNU student Umar Khalid, special public prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad for the Delhi Police, told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that the main conspirators were “entertainers” who did “damrubaazi”.
“When you do announcement from masjid, you identify place, you make sit-in protest, you… try to show a secular face by performing puja there and making a pandit give a speech, what is the activity you have done? You are creating protest sites in Muslim-dominated areas, in poorest localities in Delhi, wanting to create a secular facade. When that message is going to public at large, you want to change the narrative,” Prasad submitted.
He said that people were “imported” from other parts of Delhi to participate as the locals did not support the protests.
“You bring in artistes from outside, do this damrubaazi, it’s like a gathering, when they get monkeys to dance, do some kind of activity and they (locals) will get attracted…They are not interested in your civil society or agenda-based protest. But at the same time, each one of us gets attracted to some entertainment,” Prasad said.
While reading out chats from a WhatsApp group “Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG)”, he alleged that it was a “highly sensitive group”.
The prosecution further claimed that the group members deliberated on every single decision, pointing out an example of a debate on a protest outside the Supreme Court holding copies of the Constitution.
Earlier, advancing his arguments on behalf of Umar Khalid, senior advocate Trideep Pais had told the court that the statement of the witnesses showed that he was falsely implicated and a case can’t be made against him on half truths.
Pais had contended that police had written fanciful stories in the chargesheet and asked whether his client could be charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for calling road blockades in the city.
Khalid and several others have been booked under UAPA, a stringent anti-terror law, and are accused of being the “masterminds” of the north-east Delhi riots in February, 2020 which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
Besides Khalid, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee member Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under the stringent anti-terror law in the case.