Delhi Violence: Prosecution opposes Umar Khalid’s bail plea claiming protests were planned in detail

Prosecution says Shaheen Bagh protest was not an independent movement driven by Muslim women, and protests were planned in close proximity to Masjids

Delhi Violence
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On August 23, 2022, during the bail plea hearing of Dr. Umar Khalid in the matter pertaining to the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2020 Delhi violence, the Prosecution told the Delhi High Court that protest sites were deliberately picked based on their proximity to Masjids, reported LiveLaw.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad argued before a special bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar how the Shaheen Bagh protest was not driven by women protesters, but was instead planned and coordinated by activists who also tried to make the protest look secular instead of just driven by Muslims.

It was the prosecution’s case that every spot and protest during the riots had continuous support and was co-ordinated through whatsapp group namely DPSG. He reportedly argued, “Every time some police action is taken, immediately lawyers are sent. Support is given.” He reportedly added, “I will demonstrate from their own chats, that how they are saying that bring in more Hindus so that it looks like secularism. Locals did not support. There were people who were transported from sites. And I’ll show from statement of witnesses, how people were transported.”

He argued that sit-in protests had speakers and performers to hold the protesters together and to keep them entertained. He further stated, “All protest sites are in proximity to masjids. Then they (those allegedly involved in planning riots) say ‘our only concern is 24×7 protest sites are in muslim dominated areas, it will help BJP narrative’… Then you bring in the Government saying narrative.”

The matter has been listed to be heard on August 25 at 2:15 P.M.

After the court vacation, the Court resumed hearing Senior Advocate Trideep Pais appearing for Dr. Umar Khalid as he continued to make his submissions with respect to the bail plea filed by him, challenging the order passed by the Trial Court denying him bail in connection with the case involving charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), in the larger conspiracy case about the February 2020 Delhi violence.

Before the Court vacation, the Delhi High Court bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar had heard the submissions by Dr. Umar Khalid over the span of four to five days and concluded his arguments on July 28, 2022. The Court then posted the matter for hearing on August 1, when Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad was granted an opportunity to make his submission on behalf of the State.


Dr. Khalid was arrested by the Delhi Police in September 2020, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), on the charge of larger conspiracy to allegedly unleash violence to defame the Indian government during a visit by former US President Donald Trump. While Dr. Khalid was granted bail in the matter concerning Penal Code and Arms Act charges, he continues to remain in custody in connection with the Delhi Riots larger ‘conspiracy case’ concerning UAPA charges under FIR No. 59 of 2020.

While granting bail concerning the IPC & Arms Act charges, the Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav recognised that probability of a lengthy trial in the said matter. The court observed, “The applicant cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account of the fact that other persons who were part of the riotous mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter.” It came down heavily on the State for providing inadequate evidence in this case, that is based on the statement provided by a prosecution witness. The court found the statement provided by the witness to be insignificant material and couldn’t comprehend how a lofty claim of conspiracy could be inferred based on it.

Importantly, the court noted that the material against Khalid was “sketchy” and that he cannot be incarcerated indefinitely on the basis of such evidence. “The applicant cannot be permitted to remain behind bars in this case on the basis of such sketchy material against him,” read the order. The judge also held that neither was Dr. Khalid present at the crime scene on the day when communal clashes broke out last year, nor was he captured in any CCTV footage/viral video. Further, the court also said that “…neither any independent witness nor any police witness has identified the applicant to be present at the scene of crime. Prima facie, the applicant appears to have been roped in the matter merely on the basis of his own disclosure statement and disclosure statement of co-accused Tahir Hussain.”

Under UAPA, Dr. Khalid has been charged under sections 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities), 16 (Punishment for terrorist act), 17 (Punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (Punishment for conspiracy). Under UAPA, an accused person shall not be released on bail if the Court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true. The Delhi court made out a prima facie case merely on the basis of implausible, contradictory and vague statements made by the witnesses and gave no regards whatsoever to the fact that:

  1. Dr. Khalid had not given any public calls to incite violence;

  2. There is no evidence on record that proves Dr. Khalid’s participation in funding or transporting arms nor were they recovered from him,

  3. Dr. Khalid was not even present in Delhi when the riots took place.


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