Delhi riots case based on half-truths, false witnesses: Umar Khalid lawyer in court

‘Only four messages have been sent by me to this (WhatsApp) group since it started,’ the advocate arguing for bail for Khalid said.

Khalid
Umar Khalid, along with many others, has been booked under the UAPA in the riots case.

The lawyer for former JNU student Umar Khalid told a Delhi court on Monday that the case against him on the Delhi riots of 2020 was based on half-truths and statements cooked up by witnesses.

Khalid and several others have been booked under the UAPA and are accused of being the “masterminds” of the riots which broke out after clashes between the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) supporters and its protesters spiralled out of control. More than 50 people died in the violence.

Senior advocate Trideep Pais, according to a report in The Indian Express, argued for bail for Khalid before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. Pais told the court that Umar only sent four messages to the Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG) on WhatsApp, which the authorities claim was used to plan the riots.

“Only four messages have been sent by me to this group since it started. It’s not like the volume of messages would make the crime any less but the quality of messages show there is absolutely no role for me,” Pais reportedly said, showing the court a message sent by Khalid and said, “I am simply giving people the location of the protest site.”

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Pais also read out a protected witness statement, and said it was an “indication of a pattern of false implication in this FIR”, and that a witness had “cherry picked the names” in his statement.

“Where in his statement, or chargesheet, where is the distinction in the role of persons. You pick one person and leave others. I am not saying others should be arrested… Most people assigned roles are not arrested and I am arrested… Chor ki dhadi me tinka is clearly visible here,” Pais submitted. “He is not able to point out a single activity which I undertook by virtue of which it could be called a conspiracy or terrorist act,” Pais said.

On police allegations that Khalid wanted rioting and “blood to spill on streets”, Pais argued that there was no search or seizure and nothing was recovered to support that charge.

Also read: Communal riots doubled in COVID year, reveals NCRB data

The Indian Express report further said that Pais, while referring to a secret meeting which the police claim took place in Seelampur, argued that the pictures of this meeting were taken and uploaded on Facebook. “Let’s see the first allegation that it is a secret meeting. Picture was downloaded. I didn’t know pics were put on Facebook. You allow yourself to be photographed. And you call it a secret meeting?” Pais asked.

“Witness is clearly a cooked-up witness. You can’t have half-truths to make a case against me… Most vicious language is used because once you cook up a statement, you can say anything,” Pais argued.

In an earlier hearing, Pais had told the court while opposing Delhi Police’s allegations against Khalid: “No recovery, not present in Delhi, no violence attributed to me, no traces of funding.”

“You have a political person who speaks against the state and you want to frame him. It is a naked form of false implication. You have fabricated a story to suit your narrative. This man is innocent. He has not done anything,” he had added.

The court will hear the arguments next on November 16.

Also read: Delhi riots: Police cant lodge 5 FIRs on same incident, says HC; quashes 4

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