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Court rejects the bail of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid in the Delhi riots case

New Delhi: Delhi’s Karkardooma Court today rejected bail on the release of former JNU student activist Umar Khalid in a “major conspiracy case” related to the 2020 violence in northeast Delhi.

He was arrested on September 14, 2020, and is currently in Tihar Prison in Delhi Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat reserved the order on March 3 after hearing arguments from the appearing lawyer for Mr. Khalid and the prosecution.

During the altercation, the defendant told the court that the prosecution lacked evidence to prove their case against him. Umar Khalid is charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act on Illegal Activities (Prevention) of being one of the “intellectual authors” of the February 2020 riots that left 53 dead and more than 700 injured.

18 people have been charged in the biggest conspiracy case of the Delhi riots but only 6 have been released on bail so far.

Lead lawyer Trideep Pais, acting on behalf of Umar Khalid, argued that the entire indictment filed by the Delhi police, in this case, was a falsification and that the case against him was based on the video clips broadcast by two television channels that a shortened version his speech.

The student leader faces sections of the IPC in connection with inciting riots, encouraging religious hostility, and making provocative speeches to allegedly “pre-plan” the February 2020 communal riots.

Prosecutors had argued that Umar Khalid was a “veteran agitator” and the “soft whispers behind the first phase of the riots that took place in 2019”.

The student leader’s lawyer had argued that the allegations were rhetorical with no factual basis Prosecutors had said there were incriminating WhatsApp chats allegedly used in the “execution of the conspiracy”.

Pais had said the arguments about loading WhatsApp chats were unfounded as he only sent four messages to the WhatsApp group Delhi Protest Support Group between December 2019 and March 2020.

The indictment was “imaginations of the imagination” and considered ” a 9 p.m. script from news channels screaming”.

The witnesses made fabricated and contradictory statements, Mr. Pais argued, adding that the charge sheets were given to the media to form an unfavorable public opinion.

Violence erupted during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registry of Citizens.

In addition to Umar Khalid, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordinating Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP council member Tahir Hussain and several others have also been included in the case under the strict law.

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