HC refuses bail to Umar Khalid in UAPA case

NEW DELHI, Oct 18: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant bail to former JNU student Umar Khalid, who has been in custody for over two years, in a UAPA case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the riots here in February 2020.
“We do not find any merit in the bail appeal. The bail appeal is dismissed,” a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar said while pronouncing the order.
The bench had on September 9 reserved its order on Khalid’s plea who had challenged a trial court’s March 24 order dismissing his bail application in the case.
Khalid, arrested by Delhi Police in September 2020, sought bail on the ground that he neither had any “criminal role” in the violence in the city’s north-east area nor any “conspiratorial connect” with any other accused in the case.
He has submitted that there is no material to support the case of the prosecution against him and his Amravati speech in February 2020 – which forms the basis of the allegations against him – not only had a categorical call for non-violence but also did not lead to violence anywhere. The Delhi Police opposed the bail plea, saying the speech delivered by Khalid was “very calculated” and brought up issues like Babri Masjid, triple talaq, Kashmir, the alleged suppression of Muslims and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). (PTI)
The police argued that riots happened in two phases, first in 2019 and then in February 2020, and that misinformation was spread during the riots apart from blockade of roads, attack on police personnel and paramilitary forces, violence in non-Muslim areas, etc.
It contended that the speeches delivered by various accused in the case have one common factor that the “essence was to create a sense of fear in the Muslim population”.
Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
The violence had erupted during the protests against CAA and NRC.
The high court had issued notice to the Delhi Police on Khalid’s bail plea in April.
Besides Khalid, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others were also booked under the stringent law in the case. (PTI)