Police cooked up witnesses in Delhi pogrom UAPA case: Umar Khalid tells court

Artwork- @cheekychatterbox

Seeking bail in the UAPA case on northeast Delhi violence, activist Umar Khalid‘s lawyer on Monday told a Delhi court that the statements of ‘cooked up witnesses’ showed a pattern of ‘false implication’ in the chargesheet as well as FIR against more than 15 anti-CAA activists including Umar Khalid.

A case can’t be made on half truths, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais appearing for Umar Khalid said. Pais was arguing for bail on behalf of Umar before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. 

Umar’s lawyer Pais told the court that Umar only sent four messages to the WhatsApp group, Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG). According to Delhi Police, the group was used to plan the riots in the national capital.

Stating that heavy reliance is placed by the Delhi Police on a protected witness namely Bravo, jailed activist’s lawyer told the court that in the four messages Umar sent on the group, he was either sending location to people of the protest site or was telling others about his absence from the city, legal website Live Law reported.

“Only four messages have been sent by me to this group since it started. It’s not like the volume of messages would make the crime any less but the quality of messages shows there is absolutely no role for me,” says Pais.

Pais also pointed out contradictions in the statements made by Bravo. There was a delay in recording Bravo’s statement by the Delhi Police in August while he was part of the DPSG group since December, according to the lawyer.

“His (witness) statement doesn’t match the DPSG group. A person who believes DPSG is wrong, gives a statement in August!” Pais told the court.

Umar’s lawyer said this witness was an “indication of a pattern of false implication in this FIR.” He also out the protected witness statement in the courtroom.

Questioning the credibility of the witness, Pais added that Bravo had cherry-picked names given to the investigation team.

“Where in his statement, or chargesheet, where is the distinction in the role of persons. You pick one person and leave others. I am not saying others should be arrested…Most people assigned roles are not arrested and I am (Umar Khalid) arrested…Chor ki dhadi me tinka is clearly visible here,” Indian Express quotes Pais as saying.

Pais went on to say: “Apoorv Anand is not an accused. Devangana and Natasha are accused. Kavita Krishnan is not an accused. Umar Khalid is accused. This is a situation where it’s all very convenient. I’m not assigned any sites and I’m behind bars. According to his statements, which I’m saying is not true, people have been assigned sites and they are not accused.”

Secret meeting’s photos on Facebook

While referring to a secret meeting by Umar Khalid which the Delhi police claim took place in Seelampur in northeast Delhi, Umar’s lawyer argued that the pictures of this meeting were taken and uploaded on Facebook.

“Let’s see the first allegation that it is a secret meeting. Picture was downloaded. I didn’t know pics were put on Facebook. You allow yourself to be photographed. And you call it a secret meeting?” the newspaper quotes Pais as telling to the court.

Pais also said that “none of the witnesses say this was a secret meeting” and if Umar Khalid was a mastermind, then why will he talk about the conspiracy in front of protected witnesses.

The FIR against Khalid and other activists contains draconian charges including Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984. He is also charged of various offences mentioned under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.