‘Delhi Police case based on edited speech clips shown by Republic TV, News18 who took it from Amit Malviya’s tweet’
NEW DELHI – Activist Umar Khalid on Monday challenged Delhi Police’s case against him saying it has no evidence except the video clips run by Republic TV and News 18 showing a trimmed version of his speech. He made the argument while seeking bail in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case, reports Live Law.
The UAPA detainee said the entire chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in FIR 59/2020 is a fabrication. “The chargesheet is a complete fabrication…selectively witnesses were brought to say this and that against my client…This FIR is a hollow FIR…laughable statements have been made. What will the prosecution achieve from this? The purpose of this FIR is not to bring home guilt, it’s hypocrisy. None of the people in this FIR should be held in custody,” Khalid’s counsel Senior Advocate Trideep Pais told the court of Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat.
Pais said that the two news channels ran truncated version of a speech delivered by his client at Amravati, Maharashtra on February 17 last year. “Delhi police has nothing but Republic TV and CNN-News18 for the case”, the lawyer submitted.
According to Live Law, Pais alleged that News18 omitted a crucial statement made by Khalid regarding need for unity and harmony from the video telecast by it.
As regards, Republic TV, Pais read out a reply letter from the channel in which it stated that its clip was based on a tweet made by BJP member Amit Malviya. Pais read out to the Court the reply given by Republic TV to a demand made by police under Section 91 CrPC for a copy of the video footage. “The footage was not recorded by our cameraperson. It was tweeted by Mr. Amit Malviya..”, the reply by Republic TV said.
Calling it a “death of journalism” in India, Pais remarked, “Your material is a YouTube video which is copied from a tweet. The journalist did not even have the responsibility to go there. It’s not a journalistic ethic. This is death of journalism.”
Pais further alleged that News 18 channel deleted sentences from the speech, thus changing its meaning and context. “It makes a world of a difference…a message of unity based on Gandhiji was given that day and that was termed as a terror,” he remarked.
“I have been framed by the press. Why did they leave other parts of speech? Quite apart from the fact that nothing happened on (February) 17th, you come upon this speech in March,” Pais submitted.
He added, “On March 6 when you said he gave speeches, what did you have? You had a speech which was copied from a tweet and that story came in July by the time you had arrested 18 persons.”
Pais continued that in his speech, Khalid was talking about democratic power. He did not call for violence/violent methods. Pais also played the full clip of Khalid’s speech for the Court.
As per the prosecution allegations, Khalid had conspired with other accused on January 8, 2020 to create riots during President Trump’s visit to India.
Controverting this theory, Pais submitted that news about Trump’s visit was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs only on February 11, 2020.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26, 2020 in North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
Khalid was arrested under the stringent UAPA in September in a case relating to a larger conspiracy in the Delhi violence. The Delhi Police had on November 22 filed a chargesheet against Khalid and student activists Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in the case.