Mahendar Singh Manral
The Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Sources told The Indian Express that Khalid was summoned on Saturday and asked to join the investigation on Sunday at the Special Cell office in Lodhi Colony. “He had earlier been questioned on July 31, when his phone was seized. On Sunday, he arrived around 1 pm and was questioned during the day before being arrested in the evening,” a police source said.
Police are likely to file a chargesheet against him in the coming days, the source said. He will be produced before a Delhi court on Monday.
According to police, an FIR was registered against Khalid on March 6 based on information provided by an informer to Sub-Inspector Arvind Kumar of the narcotics unit of the Crime Branch. As per the FIR, Kumar said the informer told him that the Northeast Delhi riots in February were part of a “premeditated conspiracy” allegedly hatched by Khalid, one Danish, and two others associated with different organisations.
That FIR states: “Khalid allegedly gave provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to the citizens to come out on the streets and block the roads during the visit of US President Donald Trump to spread propaganda at the international level about how minorities in India are being persecuted.”
Kumar alleged in the FIR that as part of the conspiracy, firearms, petrol bombs, acid bottles, and stones were stored at homes in Kardampuri, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Shiv Vihar and nearby areas. “The co-accused, Danish, was given the responsibility to gather people from different places to take part in the violence… Women and children were made to block the roads under the Jafrabad Metro Station on February 23 to create tension amidst the neighbourhood people. The same day, schools of minority children (were) vacated under their premeditated conspiracy,” the FIR states.
The probe was later taken over by the Special Investigation Team of the Special Cell, which is looking into the alleged conspiracy.
In a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police Crime Branch against suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, the investigating officer has alleged that on January 8, more than a month before the riots, Hussain met with Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi of ‘United Against Hate’ at the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protest, and Umar asked him “to be prepared for something big/riots at the time of Trump’s visit” and that “he and other PFI members will help him (Hussain) financially”. That chargesheet has been filed in Karkardooma court.
Khalid’s lawyer Trideep Pais had told The Indian Express on Saturday that the allegations against Khalid were “completely false, fabricated and procured illegally through duress”.
At a press conference on September 4, Khalid had said there were two kinds of law being followed — one for supporters of the ruling party and another for the common people against whom “evidence was being manufactured”.
“There is an attempt to rewrite history of the past six months in front of our eyes and give it an official stamp,” he had said.
This story first appeared in “Indian Express” on September 14, 2020 here.