Student activist Umar Khalid sought bail in a major conspiracy case of the 2020 Delhi riots on Monday, saying that protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) did not create fear and insecurity in the public and “should not fall” to the court. The trap of interpreting everything as terrorism ”.
Khalid’s lawyer, senior counsel Trideep Pais, filed before a Delhi High Court bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Rajneesh Bhatnagar after the court asked him if the protest provoked fear among the masses.
“So your case has created a feeling of insecurity in the public but has nothing to do with you? Justice Mridul asked.
Pais responded that the alleged fear was not so serious, and added, “We should not fall into the trap of defining everything as terrorism … if so, every criminal act becomes a terror.”
Khalid and many others have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act, or UAPA for their alleged involvement in the February 2020 coup dubbed “Mastermind” that killed 53 people and more. 400 people were injured. Communal riots were triggered in parts of Northeast Delhi after clashes between anti-CAA and pro-protesters near the Jafrabad Metro station.
While bailing out Khalid, Pais told the court that the anti-CAA protests are against the “unfair law” of individuals who want to be part of the country and are not in any way an act against the sovereignty of the country.
Advocates asserted that the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (UAPA) are not appealing because terrorism does not arise solely from the disruption of law and order or public order.
He cited the Supreme Court ruling that terrorism is an act that moves beyond the ability of a common law firm to deal with under penal law and tries to gain power or control through intimidation and causes fear in most people.
“Many acts or instances cited against me (Khalid) did not qualify for terrorism. They were just protests or meetings. They do not qualify as terrorism or conspiracy. I have not participated in any violent protests, nor is there any material to show my participation in the violent protest, ”Pais submitted.
Khalid challenged the trial court’s order dismissing his bail application on March 24, saying the allegations against him were “primarily” true.
The court will continue its hearing on the case Tuesday.
Activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Dewangana Kalita, Jamia coordination committee members Safura Jarger, suspended municipal councilor Tahir Hussain and others have been booked under strict UAPA.