Case against Umar Khalid based on edited YouTube clip, says his lawyer

Updated on Aug 24, 2021 12:21 AM IST

Umar’s counsel Trideep Pais told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that his client was being “framed” and all the allegations against him were “fabricated” and “hollow”. He said that witnesses have been taken selectively and that there were various contradictions in the police’s claims indicating that it was a “cooked up” case.

Umar was arrested in September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the north-east Delhi riots conspiracy case.(HT Photo)
Umar was arrested in September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the north-east Delhi riots conspiracy case.(HT Photo)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The case of sedition against Umar Khalid in the north-east Delhi riots conspiracy case is based on YouTube clips of his truncated speech tweeted by a BJP leader, his lawyer told a local court on Monday while seeking bail for the former JNU student leader.

Umar was arrested in September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the north-east Delhi riots conspiracy case. Umar, along with several others, has been accused of being the “mastermind” of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

Umar’s counsel Trideep Pais told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that his client was being “framed” and all the allegations against him were “fabricated” and “hollow”. He said that witnesses have been taken selectively and that there were various contradictions in the police’s claims indicating that it was a “cooked up” case.

Pais said a 21-minute video clip of Khalid’s speech in Maharashtra, which the prosecution allegedly labelled inflammatory, called for message of unity based on Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings. The lawyer said that the clips provided to the police by two TV channels were copied from a tweet by a BJP leader, instead of the original footage of the speech.

The lawyer said that Umar did not give any call for violence in his speech. “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 said.

Pais claimed that one of the channels deliberately suppressed one sentence from the speech in which Khalid was talking about uniting the country. “It makes it quite clear that he has been framed by the press. Why did you leave this line, unless you deliberately want to paint him as a person who is inciting people to sedition,” he alleged.

“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.

He also pointed out another contradiction in the charge sheet, saying according to the police Umar conspired with other accused on January 8 to trigger riots during former US President Donald Trump’’s visit, however, the news about the visit was announced only in February.

Pais said that the FIR was so framed that statements can be given to indict people.“The charge sheet is a complete fabrication…selectively witnesses were brought to say this and that against my client…This FIR is a hollow FIR…laughable statements have been made. What will the prosecution achieve from this? The purpose of this FIR is not to bring home guilt, it’s hypocrisy. None of the people in this FIR should be held in custody,” he argued.

The police are yet to argue the bail. The case will be heard next on September 3.

In April, the Umar was granted bail in one of the riots 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.

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