In jail for two years based on hearsay, says Umar Khalid
Umar Khalid has challenged a March 24 trial court order that denied him bail with the judge saying that the allegations against him were “prima facie” true.
New Delhi: Activist Umar Khalid, an accused in the main conspiracy case pertaining to the 2020 communal riots in north-east Delhi, on Tuesday told the Delhi high court that he has spent two years in jail on a “baseless” charge sheet by the police and a hearsay statement by a protected witness.
Seeking bail in the case, Khalid, through his counsel Trideep Pais, told a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar that the statement given by the witness lacks corroboration.
Pais said, “This is a case where a statement is made in order to implicate me. It does not have any relation to violence in Delhi”.
“This man on December 22, 2019, calls for a chakka jam (road blockade) as his own admission and then gives a statement and seeks to implicate me so that his sins are washed away when there is no evidence of my presence. The entire preface of this matter is to frame people under UAPA solely by messages,” he said.
“Basically UAPA is now this, you just get a person to make a statement and that is it. That is the difficulty in which I have been arraigned in this matter,” he added.
Khalid has challenged a March 24 trial court order that denied him bail with the judge saying that the allegations against him were “prima facie” true.
Khalid, along with several others, has been booked under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, in the case for being the alleged “mastermind” of the February 2020 riots which left 53 people dead and over 400 injured.
Activist Khalid Saifi, 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.
The court listed the matter for hearing further arguments on Wednesday.
Khalid has argued in his bail plea before the high court that his speech, which forms the basis for the allegations against him, did not call for violence, was not contemporaneously uploaded on YouTube, was not widely circulated, and that the allegation of commission of the offence of section 124A (sedition) IPC or any reaction in Delhi on account of the speech was “unfounded, unlikely and more than remote”.
The Delhi police, represented by Special public prosecutor Amit Prasad, has opposed the bail plea, saying the narratives sought to be created by Khalid cannot be looked into as his defence at this stage and the trial court refused to release him by a well-reasoned order which suffers from no illegality.