As the probe into the February 2020 violence continues, in one of the latest charge sheets, the Delhi Police claims that a ‘public witness Y’ said that at a private meeting held a few weeks before the February 2020 violence, JNU student Umar Khalid said, "Khoon bahana padega, aise nahi chalega. Chakka jaam hi aakhri rasta hai. Humein sarkaar ko ghutno ke bal laana hi hoga. Sanghiyon ki sarkar aise nahi maanegi.”
Translation: “We will have to shed blood, this can’t go on like this. The road blockade is our last recourse. We have to bring the government down to its knees. This government of the right-wing will not listen otherwise.”
The charge sheet reads: “In the last week of January 2020 Umar Khalid had participated in private meeting at the office near protest site Old Bus Stand, Seelampur and in the meeting the present applicant and her associates were present there. Umar Khalid told them that only speeches were not sufficient now as the government is against Muslims.” This is when he made the aforementioned statement, according to the charge sheet.
While in this paragraph, public witness Y is referred to as ‘her’, in the index and the beginning of this statement the witness is referred to as a man.
The public witness, according to the charge sheet, has recorded their statement with the police under Section 161 of the CrPC as well as with the magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC. While the statement to the police does not have evidentiary value until it leads to recovery of evidence, the statement to the magistrate does.
In a letter dated 8 August, the police asked for protection for the witness claiming that they belonged to the area and resided with family. Stating that they were law-abiding citizens apprehending that if their identity is disclosed there shall be danger to their lives, the letter adds that “these witnesses are very much important witnesses for the case”.
The Quint reached out to Umar Khalid’s lawyer Trideep Pais who said the allegations were false. “This reference to and allegation against Umar Khalid is completely false, fabricated and procured illegally through duress.”
Umar has been named in several charge sheets regarding the Delhi riots, which portray him as one of the key conspirators of the riots. He has been summoned for questioning by Delhi Police special cell and crime branch in the last few weeks. His phone has also been confiscated, but he has not been arrested.
On 1 September, Khalid wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava detailing how someone he knew was coerced into giving a false statement to the police against him. When the witness had tried to resist the statement, he was threatened by the investigating officials that they would then add in his statement how he himself had played a role in planning the chakka jam, Khalid wrote. They also threatened to arrest him under UAPA and eventually the person recorded his statement in front of a video camera and signed on a document, he added.
The portion concerning Umar Khalid read, “Umar Khalid ne bola sahi waqt aane par hum Dilli mein chakka jam karenge jisse Sarkar ko yeh kanoon waapis lena pade.”
Translation: Umar Khalid said that when the right time comes we will organise a road blockade in Delhi, because of which the government will have to take this law back.
Responding to this specific allegation, Khlaid said in his letter to the police commissioner, “None of what is attributed to me in this pre-drafted statement that XY was coerced into giving was ever said by me. Despite not having a legal case or evidence against me, they are attempting to build a narrative in the minds of the general public to create ground to take action against me based on such obviously false accounts and fabricated statements.”