The Delhi police today charged human rights activist and former student leader Umar Khalid of conspiring to fuel the riots in the national capital earlier this year, besides making anti-national speeches and committing other crimes. The violence in the city in February led to the death of more than 50 people and followed the countrywide protests against the central government’s new Citizenship Act which was viewed as being discriminatory against Muslims.
The Delhi police Crime Branch alleges in its nearly 100-page charge sheet that Mr Khalid, along with Khalid Saifi and Tahir Hussain, organised a meeting in Shaheen Bagh on January 8 to plan the violence. This is the same South Delhi locality where hundreds of mostly local women had entered into a months-long protest between December 2019 and March 2020.
They were demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and also the police brutality against students of the capital’s Jamia Millia Islamia university who had sought the same law’s repeal.
Around this time, Mr Khalid is also said to have taken part in anti-CAA demonstrations in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Maharashtra, where he allegedly gave inflammatory speeches, priming the protesters for riots. The organisers of these protests in various states took care of the expenses towards his travel and local stay, the police document claims.
The charge sheet alleges that a WhatsApp group named “Delhi Spotter Protest” was created, through which the violence was planned. This particular group, the police say, was created by one Rahul Rai.
Only recently, the Delhi police’s Special Cell had filed another charge sheet against Mr Khalid charging him under sections of the UAPA.