umar khalid: Riots 2020: HC adjourns hearing till July 27 on bail pleas by Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam

The Delhi High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing till July 27 on bail pleas by Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, and Alumni Association Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) President Shifa-ur-Rehman in a UAPA case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the riots here in February 2020. Counsel appearing for Khalid sought an accommodation from the bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul on the ground that senior counsel Trideep Pais, who has been advancing arguments on his behalf, was indisposed on account of COVID-19.

The bench, also comprising Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar, deferred the hearing on the bail pleas by Imam and Rehman.

It observed that it would first conclude hearing submissions on behalf of Khalid, a former JNU student, and then proceed to the other accused in the case.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that all the matters are interconnected as it is a case of conspiracy.

“List (others) on the same date as Umar Khalid. First, we will conclude Umar Khalid then we will hear the others who are part of the conspiracy,” said the court.

Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Rehman, and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code in the case for allegedly being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

Besides them, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under the stringent law in the case.

The violence had erupted during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

The trial court dismissed the bail petitions by Khalid and Imam on March 24 and April 11, respectively. The trial court dismissed the bail plea of Rehman on April 7.

The Delhi Police has opposed the bail plea by Khalid, saying the narratives sought to be created by him cannot be looked into as his defence at this stage and the trial court refused to release him by a well-reasoned order which suffers from no illegality.

On May 30, while hearing the bail plea by Umar Khalid, the high court observed that his speech delivered in Amravati, which forms the basis of the case against him, was in bad taste but it did not make it a terrorist act.

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