Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Umar Khalid withdraws bail plea in Delhi pogrom case after 14 adjournments by Supreme Court since October 2022

Jailed rights activist Umar Khalid on Wednesday withdrew his bail application from the Supreme Court in connection with the 2020 Delhi pogrom case, citing “change in circumstance.”

Khalid’s bail plea before the apex court had been adjourned 14 times. His case first came up before the Supreme Court on May 18 and has since been adjourned 14 times for reasons ranging from the police seeking more time to file a counter-affidavit, a judge recusing himself from the hearing, the case being listed on a day set aside for hearing miscellaneous applications and Khalid’s counsel being unavailable.

Umar Khalid has been charged with criminal conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly and other offences under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court denied him bail in October 2022.

“There has been a change in circumstances, we will try our luck in the trial court,” senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khalid, said.

Umar Khalid, arrested by the Delhi Police on September 13, 2020, has sought bail, saying that he had no role in the violence nor any “conspiratorial connect” with other persons accused in the Delhi pogrom case.

In the past three and half years, Umar Khalid, who is currently awaiting trial, has spent the majority of his time in jail, with the exception of a week. During this period, he was granted a seven-day interim bail to attend his sister’s wedding, after already spending over 800 days incarcerated.

Several international and national bodies including United Nations have flagged the Delhi Police investigation against Khalid and other Muslim activists as “bogus” and an attempt to silent dissidents.

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