Khalid petitions court, says not being allowed to step out of jail cellUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 23:25 IST
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid, who is in judicial custody in connection with his alleged role in the north-east Delhi riots, on Thursday claimed that he was not being allowed to step out of his jail cell in Tihar, where he is currently in judicial custody, and nor was he being allowed meet anyone. He alleged that he was being kept in a “sort of solitary confinement”.
“I have not been allowed to step outside at all. I am alone in my cell. No one is allowed to meet me. It is practically a sort of solitary confinement. I am not well for the past three days. Why am I given this punishment? I reiterate that I need security but it cannot be that I have to be in my cell all day,” he said.
“Security does not mean that I should be punished like this,” Khalid told a Delhi court during the hearing, being held virtually in view of Covid-19 protocols.
When contacted by HT, jail authorities dismissed the allegations. Director general (Delhi prisons) Sandeep Goel said, “These allegations are absolutely wrong. He is in a single cell. There are many other prisoners in adjoining cells.”
Khalid told the judge that he was being confined with no interactions with anyone on the orders of the additional jail superintendent. Khalid also said he has not been keeping well for the past few days and as he was confined to the cell at all times, he was suffering both mental and physical discomfort.
Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat summoned the jail superintendent and posted the matter for further hearing to Friday.
Khalid was on Thursday produced before the court at the end of his judicial custody in connection with the Delhi riots case registered against him. A Delhi court, on September 24, had sent Khalid to judicial custody till October 22. He has been accused of hatching a conspiracy to orchestrate the riots in north-east Delhi in February, which had left 53 dead over 400 injured. On Thursday, the police moved an application to keep Khalid in judicial custody for another month.The court will pass an order on this petition on Friday.
During the proceedings, the judge also pulled up assistant jail superintendent (Jail No 2) Pradeep Sharma for not un-muting the microphone when Khalid told him that he wanted to speak to the judge. Khalid alleged that the official told him that the mic will be unmuted only if the judge permits it.
“If an undertrial wants to say something, then un-mute the mic and let him speak or you tell us that he wants to say something,” the judge said.
When Khalid’s counsel, advocate Trideep Pais, told the court that no adverse steps should be taken against him by the jail authorities for putting forward his grievances, the judge told the jail officer, “Khalid should not be punished for putting forward his grievances. You should take care of it.”
On October 17, the court had directed the Delhi Police to give adequate security to Khalid after the former JNU student sought security on account of his “ideological differences and dissenting opinion”.
Khalid’s lawyers and parents have denied the police’s allegations. His friends have said that Khalid was targeted for being a prominent face of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests. His lawyer had told the court last month that while Khalid was against the CAA, he was not involved in the riots.