Opposing former JNU student leader Umar Khalid's plea in the 2020 Delhi riots case, the prosecution told a Delhi court on Monday, 24 January, that the various anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest sites that had emerged in the national capital in early 2020 were deliberately positioned near mosques.
“Shreeram colony protest site was actually Noorani Masjid protest. Sadar Bazar protest site was Shahi Idgaah. Shastri Park protest site was actually Wahid Jama Masjid. Gandhi Park protest site was actually Jamila Masjid… All 25 protests sites I have pointed out are in close vicinity of masjids. That is the identification of these protest sites,” Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for Delhi Police argued before the court, The Indian Express reported.
Further, Prasad argued that the 25 protest sites were close to local mosques but were purposefully given 'secular names', pointing out Shreeram colony protest site which is Noorani Masjid protest, while the Sadar Bazar protest site was at Shahi Idgaah.
The public prosecutor said that the organisers of the agitation wanted to create the ground work for "24x7 sit-in protests," news agency IANS reported. He also claimed that there were hidden elements including PFI, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, and the Student Islamic Organisation of India during the protests.
Additional Sessions Judge Rawat of Karkardooma court was hearing the arguments of prosecution on the bail application of Khalid.
Why Did Khalid Join a Muslim Group at JNU if He is Secular?: Public Prosecutor
The prosecution opposing Khalid's bail plea in the Delhi riots conspiracy case on Monday questioned the student leader's public perception as an "atheist" who is "secular."
"Why did he join a Muslim group at JNU? You portray yourself as something else for public knowledge," Prasad said in the court, IANS reported.
'Women Were Used As Forefront of Protests'
Prasad said in the court that the purpose of the organisers of the anti-CAA protests “spread disinformation and instigate Muslims about CAA, NRC and to induce Muslim women and children to join protests,” The Indian Express reported.
“Northeast Delhi (was) chosen for its social, economic matrix for mass-scale violence,” he stated, adding that women "were used as the forefront of make it look like a rightful dissent."
Arguing that the protests were carefully planned and were not spontaneous, the public prosecutor said that funds had been collected for the agitation, legal teams had been arranged for detainees, and speakers/ artists were sent to different protest sites, LiveLaw reported.
Alluding to a December 2019 meeting which was allegedly attended by Umar Khalid and scholar Harsh Mander among others, Prasad argued that plans concerning the protest site locations and women's positioning at the fore of the movement were devised at the meet.
Previously, Khalid's legal counsel Trideep Pais had asked the court in November, “Have even one of these women told them this? Do the women not have agency to protest on a matter that affects them without some man coming and telling them what to do?”
The prosecutor will continue his arguments in the subsequent hearing of the case on 28 January.
(With inputs from The Indian Express, LiveLaw, and IANS)