Delhi riots: Ex-JNU student leader Umar Khalid sent to 10 days police custody

Published: 14 September, 2020 21:55 IST | IANS | Mumbai

Khalid was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma court via video-conferencing on Monday afternoon

Umar Khalid. File Pi
Umar Khalid. File Pi

A Delhi court on Monday sent former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, arrested in connection with a case related to the widespread violence which broke out in the capital's northeast area this February, to 10 days police custody "considering the nature of the case".

Delhi Police's Special Cell arrested Khalid on Sunday night under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after questioning him for over ten hours. He was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma court via video-conferencing on Monday afternoon.

The Additional Sessions Judge said: "Considering the nature of the case and role of the accused Umar Khalid that has surfaced so far regarding the conspiracy and involvement in anti-CAA/NPR/NRC protest...I deem it fit that, for having an effective and proper investigation, to allow the present application for seeking police custody remand of the accused Umar Khalid for a period of ten days."

The court has directed the investigating officer to get the accused medically examined every 24 hours. Khalid's lawyers -- Trideep Pais, Sanya Kumar and Rakshanda Deka -- have also been permitted to confer with the accused for a period not exceeding half an hour at the beginning of the police custody and thereafter, every day during the remand period.

During the course of proceedings on Monday, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad sought 10 days police custody of Khalid to confront him with huge technical data running into 11 lakh pages, "as well as other evidence collected during investigation of present case and also to examine at length about other suspects and various other aspects".

According to the remand application, names of some more suspects have also cropped up during the investigation of riots and Khalid is required to be questioned at length about those suspects to obtain their exact particulars for further investigation.

"From the examination of witnesses, it is revealed that accused Umar Khalid was coordinating the protest sites in Delhi in connivance with other radical groups. The mobile phone of accused Umar Khalid was already seized in this case and more than 40 GB data was extracted by CERT."

The remand application further said that during the interrogation, his active involvement in anti-CAA, NPR, NRC protests with the support of several other radical groups and organisations, which finally resulted in to recent riots, was "reconfirmed".

Advocate Pais opposed the remand application of the police and claimed that his client was "not in Delhi during the riots".

He contended that no reason has been mentioned in the remand application as to why such drawn-out police custody is required. "Application has no base. Why has the police not mentioned which speech of Umar was problematic. What do they want for him in 10 days?" he asked.

Counsel requested the court to ensure safety and security of Khalid. It was further submitted that certain items like track suits, t-shirt, etc. be also given to the accused.

Allowing the request, the judge directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police to make proper arrangements for ensuring his safety and security during the police custody remand. He will now be produced before the court on September 24.

Khalid is accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy to cause communal unrest by inciting people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens.

On March 6, the FIR was registered against Khalid and a person identified as Danish based on information provided by an informer to Crime Branch Sub-Inspector Arvind Kumar.

According to FIR number 59/2020, complainant Arvind Kumar said that riots are a premeditated conspiracy. "The conspiracy was hatched by Umar Khalid and two others associated with different organisations," as per the FIR.

Khalid gave provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to people to block the roads during US President Donald Trump's visit, to spread propaganda at the international level about how minorities in India are being persecuted, the FIR added.

He and his associates brought women and children to the road at several places in a bid to hatch conspiracy to incite riots, the Sub-Inspector alleged, adding that firearms, petrol bombs, acid bottles, and stones were stored at homes in Kardampuri, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Shiv Vihar and nearby areas as part of the conspiracy.

Explaining the conspiracy, the complainant said that co-accused Danish was given the responsibility of gathering people from different places to take part in the violence. "On February 23, women and children were made to block the roads under the Jafrabad Metro Station to create tension amidst the neighbourhood people in a bid to give rise to riots," it added.

Besides this, Khalid is also named in charge sheets filed in various cases of the riots. Communal violence broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between the citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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