Former JNU student Umar Khalid’s lawyer told a Delhi court Friday that the chargesheet filed against his client in a northeast Delhi riots case under the UAPA painted him as communal, however, “it is the officer who drafted the report and his mind was communal”.
The arguments were addressed by senior advocate Trideep Pais who told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that the chargesheet sounded like a television channel script.
Pais drew parallels between the statements carried in the chargesheet to Harry Potter villian Voldemort’s references among other examples to state that the final report filed by the police was “rubbish” and “no one should be arrested in this case”.
His arguments, however, could not be concluded and has been adjourned for Monday.
Pais began the arguments by stating that the “witness statements are being fabricated against me” and one protected witness was “speaking in forked tongues”.
“One of the biggest theories is that there was a conspiracy on January 8. The protected witness, Saturn, either speaks under pressure or with a forked tongue,” Pais told the court.
Pais submitted that this protected witness has “made a different, inconsistent statement in another FIR, you cannot take it seriously”.
“You cannot put statements in water tight compartments,” Pais told the court.
“I am not for a moment going to labour on malice. How much more malice can I show? I’m trying to tell that there is no way these statements are consistent with each other in order to meet test of UAPA,” Pais told the court.
Pais further said there are disturbing facts in the chargesheet, which is the “fertile imagination of the police officer who drafted it.”
Pais read out a portion of the chargesheet, which read, “Umar Khalid, a veteran of sedition”.
“Is this how chargesheets are written? It seems like a script of some news channel. Where did they get this from? Harbinger of the call– ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge’ — Yeh kahan se mila? (Where did you get this from),” Pais submitted.
Pais then apprised the court of the sedition case registered against Umar in 2016. He submitted, “Nowhere was it ever alleged that ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge’ was ever said by Umar Khalid. Transcript of 2016 chargesheet is here.”
Arguing that the present FIR is “a complete lie”, Pais submitted, “This is the police version. I am not saying Umar Khalid said it.”
“As you go along, you will see there is no basis for any statement. When you procure a statement and read against me, a statement which is unreliable. You don’t give proof because there isn’t, because you are lying. What I have shown is that there is a white lie,” Pais said.
On police statement that JNU student Sharjeel Imam was a prodigy of Khalid, Pais said, “No witness ever says this, Sharjeel Imam himself doesn’t say it.”
On allegations that Umar was maintaining a facade of secular politics, Pais said this statement was a “figment of imagination of the police”. “This is the danger…this statement reads like a 9 PM TV news channel script…those shouting news channels.”
On allegations that Umar kept a safe distance from Delhi as he knew that “Delhi will be thrown into the fire”, his lawyer said, “The last person who travelled with someone and got into his mind was Voldemort from Harry Potter. Mere mind mein ghus gaye? (He entered my mind)”
“This type of statement shapes public opinion by being picked up by irresponsible media. No matter what Your Honour says today, public opinion is being shaped,” Pais submitted.
Pais read out a portion from the chargesheet that “no amount of rhetoric and obfuscation of facts will be enough to brainwash the Indian Muslims into actually believing that CAA would question their nationality”.
“What is this? How does this officer who is writing this knows this? They are making me into a criminal to propagate this agenda. Again he goes into my mind and says what Indian Muslims would like and not like…you don’t have a shred of evidence or a molecule of conspiracy, so you say Imam was a disciple. Nobody deserves to be arrested in this FIR,” Pais argued.
Pais said that several statements carried in the chargesheet cannot be relied upon while considering his bail.
“This is just portions added to create picture in public’s mind. Repeated references to the accused being communal, repeatedly drilling into everybody’s mind. But it has no basis,” Pais submitted.
Referring to several words which featured in the chargesheet, Pais submitted, “Islam is a bad word, Masjid is a bad word. Slowly you are bringing this narrative in.”
Pais said the chargesheet goes on to paint Umar as communal.
“The proponents of the moment wanted to be a part of this country. If you’re saying CAA is bad, you believe in this country and secularism. Chargesheet goes on to painting him as communal,” Pais said.
Pais read out the excerpt which stated that there was a “unmistakable hallmark of a maturing Umar Khalid”.
“Ye biography likh raha hai mera? (Is he writing my biography?) How can such rubbish be written,” Pais submitted.
Stating that the police was doing some crystal ball gazing, Pais said, “How does he know this about me? That I’m a silent whisper, I’m maturing over the years.”
On allegations in the chargesheet that the accused persons used gender cover, media cover and secular cover to mask their protest, Pais said, “Have women said that they were exploited? Or that women cannot have right to protest? I’m not even saying that police is giving it a wrong twist. But is women protesting wrong? Or are they incapable of protesting? Does the movement of any sort be driven only by men?”
On allegations that guerrilla strategy was adopted by the accused for blaming law enforcement for the riots, Pais said, “nothing about it is guerrilla nothing about it is strategy. I will show you.”
Pais read out the portion “where Umar Khalid was following the template passed on to him in legacy by his father and the second being the ultra left ideological space”.
“They will write just about anything…Please understand, he’s not writing the script of Family Man. He is writing a chargesheet,” Pais submitted.
“This is the kind of stuff which is read and peddled, the creation of public opinion in order to substitute the lack of evidence to carry out your objective of unfairly prosecute people when you have no material to do so,” Pais submitted.
While reading excerpts which stated that the CAA-NRC protests had a secular facade, Pais said that “it was the mind of the officer that was communal”.
“Not a single statement that it was a charade or that non-muslims were brought in to make it a facade. The movement was what it was,” Pais said.
Pais submitted that it is their “effort to show me as a leader of imaginative movement which contributed to violence in Delhi.”
Pais read out a statement which stated that Umar “was very close to the very top”.
Pais said, “Who is the very top? I don’t know? How am I close to the very top? I don’t know? No witness says so? Do I navigate to ideologies? No witness says so.”