A Delhi court on Wednesday, 16 February, reserved its order on the bail plea of United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi, who has been accused in a 'larger conspiracy' case linked to the 2020 Delhi riots.
Senior lawyer Rebecca John, appearing for Saifi, told the court on Wednesday that the prosecution was trying to communalise the narrative. She argued that the prosecution had built its argument by taking messages in isolation.
"Why is the prosecution attempting to communalize the narrative? Don’t lay the narrative on one community. Don’t brush aside the actions of Delhi Police, that too are apparent from reading this WhatsApp group,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Saifi has been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
'Protest Was Not Communal'
John further shared a message sent by Khalid Saifi in a WhatsApp group called Delhi Protest Support Group (DPSG), which reads that “The CM must be held accountable for open, clear, the inaction of police during the violence. Protest must be held outside his residence.” She noted that the contents of the message did not incriminate the petitioner.
Offering a rebuttal to the prosecution's remark that the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) that had taken over the national capital at the time were communal and not organic, John was quoted as saying by ANI:
“So what? Every protest is organized. Even if it was not organic, it doesn’t help their case. The protest was communal? The protest was not communal except that the persons who were against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) belonged to a particular community.”
Additional Session Judge Amitabh Rawat reserved on the bail plea after hearing John who concluded her rebuttal arguments.
Meanwhile, the court will resume the hearing of student leader Umar Khalid's bail plea on Friday.
Communal clashes had taken over Northeast Delhi in February 2020. Fifty-three people had been reported dead, hundreds were injured, and property worth crores was destroyed in the violence.
(With inputs from ANI.)