New Delhi: The Delhi police, in one of its chargesheets filed in the North East Delhi riots cases on Tuesday, accused former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid of being a part of a larger group in organising protests and riots in the city.
Khalid has denied the charges. Talking to The Wire, he said that “there is not even an iota of truth in this”.
As many as 53 people were killed and over 400 injured in the riots, which began following clashes between pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters.
Khalid’s name has figured in one of the charge sheets – filed in Karkardooma courts – in which the police have named suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain of playing a “pivotal role” during the riots.
Case against Hussain
Hussain has been accused by the police of rioting, criminal conspiracy, dacoity, promoting religious enmity and under the Arms Act. He has been accused of orchestrating violence from his Chandbagh house, which was used to launch projectiles and Molotov cocktails on surrounding buildings, and outside which Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma was also allegedly murdered on February 24.
In connection with this violence, 15 people, including Hussain and his younger brother Shah Alam, have been booked. The police have also accused Hussain of getting his licensed pistol released from a police station on February 22 and purchasing 100 cartridges on the basis of the license. It said only 64 live cartridges and 22 empty cartridges were recovered and the use of ammunition was being probed.
In the case of Khalid Saifi, who has also been arrested, the police charged that Hussain had taken around Rs 1.10 crore from him and transferred an equivalent amount to some fake companies in January. The police case is that the cash was then distributed by Hussain among anti-CAA protesters, his supporters and other persons in his locality.
However, Hussain’s lawyer Javed Ali charged that the councillor was being “falsely implicated”. He claimed there was no recovery, and planted goods and manipulation was being used to implicate him.
Alleged role of Umar Khalid
According to a media report, the police chargesheet said that on January 8, over a month before the riots, Hussain had met Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi of United Against Hate at the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protest. It went on to charge that Umar had asked him “to be prepared for something big/riots at the time of Trump’s visit”, and “he and other PFI members will help him (Hussain) financially”.
The chargesheet, the report said, was based on Hussain’s police questioning and call detail record analysis. “Hussain claimed Saifi gave him money for preparations and he, from the account of companies owned by him, transferred Rs 1.10 crore to fake companies in the second week of January. He later got that amount in cash through a chain of transactions and started his preparations. He also distributed cash to anti-CAA protesters. His co-accused and several other persons in his locality also told his other supporters to get ready for big action. He also got his licensed pistol released from Khajuri Khas police station when he learnt that some persons were organising pro-CAA demonstrations nearby, to teach them a lesson,” the report further said.
‘Not even an iota of truth in charges’
Responding to this, Khalid said: “I have not read the chargesheet. But going by what has appeared in the media, and in case it has reported the truth about the charges, I can only say that there is not even an iota of truth in this.”
His lawyer, Trideep Pais, said he has also not read the chargesheet yet.
Separate charge sheet against 12 arrested JCC members
Meanwhile, the police have filed a separate charge sheet against 12 people, including two activists of the women’s group Pinjra Tod, in connection with the riots. Crime branch officers associated with the probe said that none of the 12 arrested persons are registered members of the Jamia Coordination Committee but the two Pinjra Tod activists were in-charge of a sub-group the committee had formed for the Jaffrabad protest site. None of the 12 have got bail in the case so far.
It has been reported that these 12, all of whom are under arrest, have been charged for murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. The police claimed that they were part of a larger conspiracy and were connected to the United Against Hate group and Umar Khalid. This case is being handled by the Crime Branch of Delhi police. It said all the accused were registered members of the Jamia Coordination Committee, while the two Pinjra Tod activists among them were in-charge of a sub-group the JCC formed for the Jaffrabad protest site in North East Delhi.
This case pertains to a February 25 incident when protests turned violent and a man died near the Jaffrabad metro station. The police claimed to have found 35 spent cartridges at the site.
In this case, on the role of the Pinjra Tod members, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, the police had contended that they recovered a WhatsApp message from one of their phones, which spelt out what the women should do if riots broke out. Earlier, Pinjra Tod had denied the allegations of any connection with the riots and termed the police action a witch-hunt.