In Delhi riots charge sheet, police claim outsiders launched Shaheen Bagh
Delhi Police have alleged that JNU students had started the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest at Shaheen Bagh and that in the initial days of the sit-in demonstration, those who occupied the roads were not local residents. The police have claimed in a supplementary charge sheet filed in the conspiracy to trigger communal riots in Delhi in which the investigating agency has named Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam. While Khalid has passed out of JNU, Imam was a student of the university when he was arrested.
In the charge sheet, filed on Sunday in the Karkardooma court, the special cell alleged that Imam and his accomplices had distributed pamplets, mobilised clerics from nearby mosques and made announcements.
As evidence against Imam, who police have charged as one of the main conspirators, police have attached scanned copy of details of a meeting held on December 15, 2019 at an eatery inside JNU. This was the day when violence broke out near Jamia Millia Islamia campus. The scanned copy of what police claim were “minutes of the meeting” show how the core committee members of the Muslim Students of JNU spoke about roping in Bhim Army and visiting Deoband as part of the mobilising protesters. The chief of the Bhim Army Chandrashekhar has been named in the violence at Daryaganj on December 20 during an anti-CAA protest.
The police, in their 1000-page charge sheet has termed Umar Khalid as the mentor of Imam. “Sharjeel Imam was an active participant in events and occasions observed within the JNU campus and was well received for his oratorical skills. Umar Khalid, his mentor, had a special interest in Sharjeel Imam. The religious fantacism of Sharjeel coupled with his academic legacy and sharp rhetorical skills was just the perfect combination that Umar Khalid was looking to exploit to execute the lessons that he learnt from his attempted seditious uprising in JNU in 2016,” the charge sheet read.
The agency also said though he is “deeply communal”, Khalid pretends to be an atheist.
The police also alleged in the charge sheet that on 27 December 2019, Imam held a meeting with conspirators at a private residence close to the Shaheen Bagh protest site.
“The extremist and communal stance taken by Sharjeel Imam had yielded rich dividends and Shaheen Bagh chakka jaam was being projected nationally and internationally as a site of democratic resistance against the government of India which was being allegedly portrayed as anti-Muslim by the accused,” the charge sheet read.
The police also said that Khalid “with his intellectual acumen, knew very well that a large majority of Indian Muslims will never subscribe to the perverted definition of Islam being espoused by his disciple Sharjeel Imam, and no amount of rhetoric and obfuscation of facts will be enough to brainwash the Indian Muslims into actually believing that CAA would question their nationality”.
Quoting witness named as Helium in the charge sheet, the police claimed that the witness had said that he attended a protest called at Jantar Mantar on 10 February 2020, where he was introduced to Umar Khalid and his father SQR Ilyas. At the protest, Khalid told him that he should mobilise the Bangladeshi immigrants and the Rohingyas who live in Jahangirpuri and urge them to fight against the CAA.
The police said that it was not a surprise that on 23 February 2020, while Khalid was away from Delhi, women from Jahangir Puri had travelled about 60 kms over the day to reach Jafrabad to be received by arrested accused Devangna Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Guifisha Fatima and who took on the deployed police forces by use of chilli powder, crushed glass bottles and stones which led to the riots.
Umar Khalid’ counsel Trideep Pais had said that though his client was against the idea of the new Citizenship law; and that he(Khalid) was not ashamed of it, Khalid was not involved in any violence of the conspiracy of the riots.
Sharjeel Imam’s lawyer has also denied all the allegations and charges as baseless.
Delhi Police have been criticised by many student activists and civil society groups of targeting anti-government voices by arresting them for riot cases. Police have been accused of arresting prominent anti-CAA voices for the riots.