Jailed activist Umar Khalid who was arrested by the Delhi Police in 2020 after being accused as one of the conspirators in the Northeastern Delhi riots of 2020 said that the court should not “fall into the trap of calling everything as a terrorist activity”, during a hearing of his bail plea, on Monday.
The bench had asked if the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) instilled a sense of fear and insecurity among people.
The Delhi high court, headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul, is currently hearing arguments in Khalid’s bail plea which will continue till Tuesday. The Supreme Court (SC) had ruled out that any activity that creates “a sense of fear and insecurity” can be termed a terrorist act, reported The Indian Express.
Senior advocate Trideep Pais, who is representing Khalid argued that the protests were against “an unjust law”. Khalid’s speech was not targeting violence in any manner described under Section 15 of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Laws Act) law, he argued. Umar Khalid has been booked by the Delhi Police under the UAPA act.
“Several of the acts or instances cited against me (Umar Khalid) were not even qualifying (as) terror. They were just either protests or meetings. They did not qualify even as terror or conspiracy. I did not take part in any violent protest, nor is there any material to show my participation in the violent protest,” submitted Pais.
In the case of distilling fear amongst the public following the protest, Pais argued, “If that is the case, every criminal act will become a terror act.”
Responding to the charge sheet filed against Umar Khalid by the Delhi police, Pais argued that it was a “flowery material” and had no connection with Khalid’s offence. “Since there is no such evidence or material to support the allegation against my client, the difficult procedure for asking for bail under the UAPA act should not be applicable,” Pais argued.
“The charge sheet tries to confuse the acts of one or two with the actions of others. That is the beauty of an FIR like this. Five people at the same place. The same role attributed, three made accused, two are not,” he added.
The hearing of Umar Khalid’s bail plea will continue today, Tuesday, in a post-lunch session.