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Umar Khalid bail hearing: SPP compares anti-CAA protesters to entertainers who draw crowds

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad told the court that the anti-CAA protests were held “at Muslim-dominating areas, poorest localities in Delhi, wanting to create a secular facade.”

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2022 5:13:25 pm
Former JNU student Umar Khalid. (Express File Photo/Nirmal Harindran)

The main conspirators of the anti-CAA protests were like entertainers who resorted to “damrubaazi”, organizing protests across Muslim-dominated areas, and poor people were used as fodder, the prosecution told a Delhi court while opposing former JNU student Umar Khalid’s bail plea in a UAPA case.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad made these arguments before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat and told the court that the anti-CAA protests were “created at Muslim-dominating areas, in poorest localities in Delhi, wanting to create a secular facade.”

“The locals there, uneducated masses were used as fodder by this (DPSG) group,” he said.

“When you do announcement from masjid, you identify place, you make sit-in protest, you… try to show a secular face by performing puja there and making a pandit give a speech, what is the activity you have done? You are creating protest sites in Muslim-dominating areas, in poorest localities in Delhi, wanting to create a secular facade. When that message is going to public at large, you want to change the narrative,” Prasad told the court.

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On the anti-CAA protests, the SPP submitted, “You bring in artists from outside, do this damrubaazi, it’s like a gathering, when they get monkeys to dance, do some kind of activity and they (locals) will get attracted…They are not interested in your civil society or agenda-based protest. But at the same time, each one of us gets attracted to some entertainment.”

The SPP also read out chats exchanged between group members of the Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG) stating that this was a “highly sensitive group”.

Prasad argued that the group members deliberated on every single decision, pointing out an example of a debate on a protest outside the Supreme Court holding copies of the Constitution. He told the court that there was much debate over holding a copy of the Constitution, but there was no debate when there was an incitement to violence in the group.

“For holding a Constitution alone, what is the reaction? Incitement to violence there is no response, holding a Constitution, what is the response?” the SPP argued.

During the previous hearing, the SPP tried to draw parallels between the planning of the riots to that of the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA. He had also told the court that all 25 sites where protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act were held in Delhi were picked because of their proximity to mosques, but were “purposefully given secular names”.

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