UAPA case is to selectively target people who oppose CAA: Dr. Umar Khalid

The activist was appearing before a District court for a hearing of his bail plea in the Delhi violence case where has been booked under UAPA


The Delhi district court’s Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat continued to hear today, on August 23, the bail plea filed by Dr. Umar Khalid, accused in the alleged conspiracy case of the Delhi Violence last year. Khalid has been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and serious provisions of the Indian Penal Code. He was arrested on September 13 last year and has been in jail since then.

Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, appearing for the former JNU student Dr. Khalid argued that around 750 FIRs have been registered in connection with the Delhi Violence case between February 23 and 25, 2020. But out of these 750 FIRs, Khalid has not been named in any FIR and was arrested in only one FIR (101 of 2020) in which he has already been granted bail. Read SabrangIndia’s report on the Delhi court granting Khalid bail based on “sketchy material”.

The FIR 59 of 2020 (the conspiracy case that has charged accused persons under Unlawful Activities-Prevention Act, 1967) is from March 6, 2020, and Khalid was arrested under the said FIR on September 13, 2020. He argued that Khalid has been selectively targeted based on the importance to the opposition against the citizenship laws.

Pais contended, “I am not named in a single FIR and arrested in one, in which I am on bail. FIR 59/ 2020 is an FIR which is unnecessary and has been drafted and filed in order to target people selectively based on their importance to opposition to the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act).” He said that the case is contradictory against Khalid and the UAPA FIR is “hollow”. He also added that the chargesheet against Umar is “a complete fabrication”.

He submitted, “None of the people in custody in FIR 59 should be held in custody. FIR 59 should not have been registered at all. We are beyond a year now, all your evidence etc., start from the day beyond the crime. There is nothing. You add offences on March 15. When FIRs were filed, there was actual crime, violence occurred, cars were burnt, people died. But the March 6 FIR was filed in a broad manner in order to get statements to frame people”.

Framed by the Press

Pais further argued that when the FIR was registered under UAPA, the Delhi Police had no evidence against Khalid or any other accused under the FIR. He said that the Delhi Police relied on news broadcasted by Republic TV and News18 that showed parts of Khalid’s speech on February 17, 2020 delivered in Amravati, Maharashtra. He read out the content of a letter with sub heading “transcription of speech of Umar Khalid shown on YouTube by Republic World allegedly on 17 Feb 2020 at Amravati, Maharashtra”, sent by the Delhi Police to the channel.

He said, “I have been framed by the press. Why did they leave other parts of speech? Quite apart from the fact that nothing happened on 17th, you come upon this speech in March. They (Delhi Police) send notices to these organisations including the News editor, News 18. This is a place where most of the cases are fabricated these days. It took them 10 days to send a notice. What comes as a reply shows you the death of the media in India.”.

Senior Advocate Pais further argued that the channels were sent notices by the Delhi Police to provide them a source of Umar Khalid’s alleged “provocative speech”. Both channels, in their replies, revealed that the source of the video was a tweet by Bhartiya Janta Party member Amit Malviya who only uploaded parts of the speech. “The reply says they (News 18) don’t have the raw footage and that the video was obtained from a tweet done by a member of BJP,” he said.

Pais also read out the reply by Republic TV with reference to the notice requesting footage of Umar Khalid’s speech. He said that Republic TV’s response read, “The footage was not recorded by our cameraperson. It was tweeted by Mr. Amit Malviya.” He further questioned that if the exchange of this reply between the Delhi police and channels happened in July 2020, what was the basis of the FIR registered on March 6.

He argued, “On March 6 when you (Delhi Police) said he gave speeches, what did you have? You had a speech which was copied from a tweet and that story came in July by the time you had arrested 18 persons.” Umar Khalid’s lawyers also played out the entire video of the speech delivered by him on February 17 in Amravati to show that the content was “not seditious”.

“His speech does not call for violence. He speaks about the spontaneity of protests after the violence in Jamia Millia University. He calls for democratic participation in the protests. He refers to Mahatma Gandhi. He said when a foreign dignitary comes to India, he will let him know about what’s happening in the country. That’s all,” argued Pais.

Khalid has been accused of conspiring with co accused persons to hatch a plan to get out on the streets and engage in violence when the United States of America Donald Trump visited India.

Fabricated conspiracy charges

The chargesheet dated June 2, 2020 filed by the Police claims that the conspiracy to create violence in Delhi when Donal Trump visited was hatched on January 8, 2020. The theory is that on January 8, accused persons Khalid Saifi, Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain met at Shaheen Bagh to plan the protest knowing that Trump will visit India in February.

Pais read out the response of the Ministry of External Affairs stating that the news about former US President Donald Trump’s visit was announced only on February 14, 2020. He argued, “They tell you I knew about Trump’s visit on January 8 when the MEA did not know?”

Trideep Pais further argued how the prosecution witness in this case gave a statement on May 21, 2020 wherein he did not mention anything about the January 8 alleged conspiracy meeting. He said, “If on May 21 you don’t know the theory of the planning meeting, how did you file the chargesheet on June 2? Then you need a statement, so you file a supplementary chargesheet. On September 27, the same witness speaks of the January 8 meeting. This is a complete joke.”

He said that the story changed after that as the witness changed his statement and mentioned the alleged January 8 meeting which was not highlighted earlier. “It is shocking how they will clutch onto their straws and lie,” senior counsel Pais argued.

Pais pointed out that initially the Police claimed that Khalid delivered a provocative speech, but did not produce the video of that speech. By the time the entire video was accessed on July 18, 2020, other people had been arrested in the case under FIR 59/2020 without any evidence.

The hearing in the matter will continue on September 3 and 6, 2021.


Another supplementary charge sheet against Umar Khalid!
Sketchy material against Umar Khalid, Delhi court grants bail
How’s the media getting copy of charge sheet before the accused: Umar Khalid
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