Delhi Riots: HC to Hear Bail Plea of Rights Activist Khalid Saifi on July 22

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NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Monday said it will hear the bail plea filed by Khalid Saifi, rights activist associated with United Against Hate, an accused in the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2020 Delhi riots, on July 22.

A division bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal have listed the matter before a Special Bench for July 22 on the request of the Saifi’s counsel Senior Advocate Rebecca John.

The special bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar currently deals with the bail appeals of Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad did not oppose the petitioner’s request. During the course of the hearing, John argued that Saifi’s case is different than the other accused in the related cases. The counsel also said that she would wait for the other co-accused to conclude their arguments before showing how her client’s case could be distinguished from the rest.

On May 10, the High Court issued notice on the appeal filed by Saifi, who was denied bail by a trial court in connection with the alleged conspiracy case, in which he has been booked under the anti-terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

In the last hearing, John argued that other than the ‘bald’ statement made in the supplementary charge sheet, there was no evidence to show that Khalid Saifi met former JNU student Umar Khalid, another accused in the larger conspiracy case in December 2019, or that Khalid gave him any direction to raise a protest site at Khureji.

Other accused — JNU scholars and activists Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam among nearly a dozen of people — are allegedly involved in the larger conspiracy case, as per the Delhi Police.

Sharjeel and Khalid are also facing charges in connection with the inflammatory speeches which are allegedly fuelled, as per the police, the riots broke out in the national capital.

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 then US President Donald Trump’s maiden trip to India, saw more than 50 people, mostly Muslims, lose their lives and over 700 injured. — IANS

Khalid Saifi, a dedicated rights activist associated with United Against Hate, was walking when he was taken by police on February 26. Later he was spotted in custody with broken legs and fingers.

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