Former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and accused in the Delhi Riots of 2020, Umar Khalid told a Delhi court on Monday that the statements of police witnesses did not show a “single activity” that connected him to the alleged criminal conspiracy or terrorist act in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case registered against him in relation to the riots.
Khaid’s lawyer also alleged that the conspiracy case were written by someone else and given to them as police did not have any evidence, and a case can’t be made against him on half-truths.
Umar Khalid and several others have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (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.
During the proceedings, Trideep Pais read out a police allegation from the charge sheet regarding an alleged secret meeting in Delhi’s Seelampur area on January 23 and 24 last year.
Referring to the individual witness statements, Pais called one of the witnesses a “cooked up witness”. His argument was in reference to the allegation that a secret meeting purportedly took place and Khalid was part of it.
He argued that if it was a secret meeting, the participants would not have allowed themselves to be photographed and have their photos uploaded on a social networking site.
“Only four messages have been sent by me to this group since it started. It’s not like the volume of messages would make the crime any lesser but the quality of messages show there is absolutely no role for me,” Umar’s advocate said.
Senior Advocate Trideep Pais appearing for Khalid, also urged Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat to note that there was no search or seizure made from Khalid to support the allegation that he intended to initiate violence.
The Court will hear arguments next on November 16. Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appearing for the State will respond after Pais completes his arguments.
According to the Delhi Police’s case, the Delhi riots were part of a pre-meditated, deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the accused persons. It is alleged that the accused persons conspired to cause disruption to such an extent and magnitude that would lead to disorderliness and disturbance of law and order at an unprecedented scale.
The Court had, on November 24, 2020, taken cognisance of the chargesheet filed against Khalid and others under the UAPA, stating that there was sufficient material to proceed against them.
Previously, Pais had submitted that a number of persons protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act and that the protests were secular in nature, whereas the chargesheet against his client was communal in nature.