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Delhi HC adjourns Umar Khalid’s plea for Friday

New Delhi, April 28, 2022- The Delhi High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of the appeal of JNU researcher-activist Umar Khalid for Friday saying that his fresh documents explaining his alleged ‘offensive speech’ have not come on record.

Khalid had approached the High Court with his appeal challenging the trial court order which denied him bail in connection with the larger conspiracy behind the 2020 Delhi riots.

His alleged offensive speeches delivered at Amaravati during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens were the basis of allegations against him in the riots case. During the course of the hearing on Thursday, the petitioner submitted the materials and case laws detailing the meaning of the words ‘krantikari’ and ‘inquilab’ which was used by him in the alleged speeches.

On Wednesday, a division bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar, had asked him whether its proper to use the word ‘Jumla’ against the Prime Minister.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Mridul asked: “This word jumla is used against the Prime Minister of India. Is it proper?”, at which the counsel said that it is not illegal to criticise the policies of the government.

Earlier on April 22, the bench had said that the speech delivered by Umar Khalid at Amravati, was “offensive and obnoxious”. “Did Gandhiji ever employ this language? Did Shaheed Bhagat Singh ever employ such language? We have no qualms about permitting free speech but what are you saying?”, the bench had asked.

On March 24, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, denying bail to Khalid, observed that the contention that he is a researcher and his bent of mind can be assessed from his doctoral thesis on welfare aspects of tribals of Jharkhand and other writings is not a relevant consideration while deciding the bail application.

Khalid, one of the accused in the conspiracy case, has been booked under the anti-terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The riots broke out in northeast Delhi in February 2020 after clashes between the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and pro-CAA protesters took a violent turn.The mayhem, which coincided with the then US President Donald Trump’s maiden trip to India, saw over 50 people lose their lives and over 700 injured.  (Agency)

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