The prosecution opposing former JNU student Umar Khalid’s bail in a northeast Delhi riots case has told a Delhi court that all 25 anti-CAA protest sites in Delhi were picked because of their proximity to mosques, but were “purposefully given secular names”.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad made these arguments before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, arguing that the 25 protest sites were close to local mosques. Giving out examples, the SPP said: “Shreeram colony protest site was actually Noorani Masjid protest. Sadar Bazar protest site was Shahi Idgaah. Shastri Park protest site was actually Wahid Jama Masjid. Gandhi Park protest site was actually Jamila Masjid… All 25 protests sites I have pointed out are in close vicinity of masjids. That is the identification of these protest sites.”
The SPP argued that the organisers of the protest sites wanted to “create ground work for 24X7 sit-in protests”.
“They spread misinformation and instigate the Muslim community to join the protests, including women and children,” the SPP argued.
He argued that the protest sites were not organic in nature and that “hidden elements were PFI, Jamat-e-Hind and Student Islamic Organisation of India”.
Prasad argued that the purpose of the Jamia Awareness Campaign Team (JACT) was to “spread disinformation and instigate Muslims about CAA, NRC and to induce their women and children to join protests”.
The SPP argued that there was “a public perception that Umar Khalid is an atheist and studying in JNU, which vouches for being secular”. Prasad added: “Then why did you join a Muslim group (Muslim Students of JNU)? You potray yourself as something else for public knowledge.”
Prasad also drew parallels between several incidents of rioting which took place against the backdrop of the CAA-NRC protest with the Delhi riots, stating: “Almost every person involved in December 2019 riots surfaced in 2020… Difference between 2019 and 2020 is Jamia and Shaheen Bagh were deliberately avoided and women were used as forefront to make it look like rightful dissent in 2020.”
Alleging that the conspirators of the 2019 incident learned their lesson, and that this could be seen in JNU student Sharjeel Imam’s speech, the SPP submitted, “Northeast Delhi (was) chosen for its social, economic matrix for mass-scale violence.”
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat questioned the SPP, saying: “But if you look at his speeches, Sharjeel Imam does not believe in any ideology starting from Gandhi till today. He only believes in himself. So how did he align with others?”
Prasad told the court that he will demonstrate the same with the help of chats and that he was not saying this from a figment of his imagination.
His arguments, which began on Tuesday could not be concluded, will be heard on January 28.