September 14, 2020
Delhi Police has arrested former JNUSU member Umar Khalid in connection with his alleged role in the northeast Delhi riots that shook the national capital in February of this year following widespread protests against CAA/NRC.
Umar Khalid, a former member of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union (JNUSU) has been arrested by Delhi Police in connection with the northeast Delhi riots. The violence that went on for 72 hours following widespread protests against CAA/NRC claimed 53 lives and left over 400 people injured.
According to inputs, Umar Khalid has been arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Sources say Khalid was summoned for questioning by the Special Cell and arrested after an interrogation that lasted for several hours.
On August 1, Delhi Police had questioned Umar over the speeches he delivered at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh along with Khalid Saifi days before the riots. Investigators had also seized Umar’s mobile phone at the time.
Khalid Saifi, a co-founder of ‘United Against Hate’ of which Umar is also a member, was arrested in June. The Delhi Police had indicated that Saifi played a “crucial role” in arranging a meeting between Umar and suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain who is also behind bars in connection with the riots.
Meanwhile, the group ‘United Against Hate’ said in a statement that the Delhi Police must ‘ensure Umar Khald’s safety by all means possible’.
“After 11 hours of interrogation, the Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Umar Khalid as a “conspirator” in the Delhi Riots case. The fairytale narrative that DP has been spinning criminalising protests in the garb of investigating riots, find yet another victim. The fight against draconian CAA and UAPA will go on despite all these horrid measures of intimidation. Right now, our first priority is that he should be given maximum security and the Delhi Police must ensure his safety by all means possible,” said the statement.
Umar Khalid’s father too, took to Twitter to inform about his son’s arrest. He wrote on Twitter, “My son Umar Khalid has been arrested tonight at 11:00 pm by Special Cell, Delhi Police under UAPA. Police was questioning him since 1:00 pm. He has been implicated in Delhi Riots. #StandWithUmarKhalid”
The Delhi Police had on Saturday mentioned the names of CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, noted economist Jayati Ghosh, DU professor Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy in a supplementary chargesheet in connection with the northeast district violence.
Reacting to the arrest, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan tweeted, “Umar Khalid’s arrest by Delhi police after naming Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh & Apoorvanand, leaves no doubt at all about the malafide nature of it’s investigation into Delhi riots. It’s a conspiracy by the police to frame peaceful activists in the guise of Investigation.”
In the chargesheet it filed in July in connection with the Chand Bagh violence, Delhi Police had claimed that Tahir Hussain and Umar Khalid hatched a conspiracy ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India. The police had further alleged that Umar had assured the other two that Popular Front of India (PFI) was ready to “provide funds and facilities”.
The Delhi Police Crime Branch had registered an FIR against Umar Khalid on March 6. In the FIR, investigating officers had claimed Umar and his associates “conspired” to trigger communal riots in Delhi.