On Tuesday, Delhi’s Kakradooma court accepted the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against student activists
NEW DELHI — Incarcerated anti-CAA activist and JNU alumnus Umar Khalid attempted to tap the scholarly credentials, oratory skills and religious bent of his fellow activist Sharjeel Imam during the anti-CAA protest movement, claimed the Delhi police in a supplementary chargesheet filed in a case over the February Delhi riots.
The chargesheet brands Khalid as “deeply communal” and describes Imam as the “unapologetic floating froth of religious extremism who was to be used for executing the precipitation of the conspiracy in the riots”.
On Tuesday, Delhi’s Kakradooma court accepted the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against student activists Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan in connection with Delhi riots that had left 53 people dead and some 200 seriously injured. The court took cognisance of the charges under UAPA but refused to take cognisance of charges of sedition citing that sanctions had not been granted yet.
The fresh chargesheet says that Umar pretended to be an atheist in public discourse but events proved otherwise, and framed Sharjeel as a religious extremist who was influenced by four recent events–passage of law declaring triple talaq as illegal, final judgement in the Babri-Masjid case, revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India and the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill”.
“The religious fanaticism of Sharjeel, coupled with his academic legacy and sharp oratory skills, was just the perfect combination that Umar was looking to exploit to execute the lessons learnt from his attempted seditious uprising in JNU in 2016.”
It alleged that Sharjeel’s academic, religious and oratory instincts were to become an asset for the key conspirators of the case in the days to come.
“Four events that ultimately led to the emergence of the religious extremist that was taking shape within the conscience of Sharjeel were passage of law declaring triple talaq as illegal, final judgement in the Babri-Masjid case, revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India and the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.”
“Sharjeel, who was an active participant in events and occasions observed within the JNU campus, was well received for his oratory skills. Umar, his mentor, had a special interest in Sharjeel. The religious fanaticism of Sharjeel coupled with his academic legacy and sharp oratory skills was just the perfect combination that Umar Khalid was looking to exploit to execute the lessons learnt from his attempted seditious uprising in JNU in 2016,” the chargesheet alleged.
The Delhi police maintain that the anti-CAA activists hatched a criminal conspiracy to instigate violence on the streets of Delhi to attract the attention of the world media when Donald Trump was in the national capital.
“There could not have been a greater international embarrassment for the government of India than to have communal riots raging in the national capital while a visit by the US President was under way in February,” it said.
The chargesheet accuses Umar, Sharjeel and other activists of sedition, and says that their objective was to uproot the elected government using communal violence.
Both Umar and Sharjeel were part of the protest movement against the citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Sharjeel was arrested in late January, a month before the outbreak of the riots. Critics have questioned the police claims that frame him as a conspirator of the riots.
The CAA triggered a wave of peaceful protests across India. Muslim women took to the streets and began indefinite sit-ins at various places across the country asking the government to revoke the “discriminatory” law which many say goes against the secular and democratic spirit of the constitution of the country.
According to CAA, migrants from neighbouring countries living in India will be granted citizenship. But it specifically excludes Muslims. Critics say that the law, if coupled with the potential nationwide citizenship test, will enable the disenfranchisement of Muslim citizens. They will be sent to detention centres if they fail to prove their citizenship in accordance with new norms.
Irked by the protests, senior leaders and ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in their speeches, exhorted their supporters to shoot the protesters. “Goli maaro salon ko” became the war cry of the mobs supporting the ruling party.
Around the same time, the protesting women in Jafarabad organised a road-block near the sit-in site. This triggered a warning from BJP leader Kapil Mishra who gave a speech threatening to resort to vigilantism if police failed to open the road.
This eventually led to an outbreak of violence in parts of Delhi. The carnage that followed left behind a trail of death and destruction.
More than 50 people were killed, mostly Muslims, and hundreds of houses were set ablaze as also many families were displaced in three days of violence.
The police, however, say the violence was the result of an organised conspiracy hatched by anti-CAA activists which includes students, scholars, rights defenders and politicians.
The claims of the police have been rubbished by activists who say the police were acting at the behest of the ruling BJP and were shielding the culprits.