The Delhi Police has filed an FIR against activist and former JNU research student Umar Khalid in connection with the communal violence that took place in Northeast Delhi in February 2020.
What Are the Allegations?
The FIR alleges that “Khalid made an incendiary speech instigating people to block the streets during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India on 24-25 February so that propaganda can be carried out at an international stage that minorities are being oppressed in India.”
The FIR was registered on 6 March 2020.
On 11 March, during the debate on the Delhi communal violence in the Lok Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi and Tejaswi Surya accused Khalid of instigating the violence in Delhi by appealing to people to protest on the streets during US President Trump’s visit to India.
Another claim regarding Khalid’s speech was made by BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. According to Fadnavis, “Khalid in his rally in Amravati had said riots will take place in Delhi, much before the actual riots took place.”
What Umar Khalid Said
The speech that the Delhi Police and Amit Shah are referring to, is one that he made in Amravati on 20 February.
If one listens to the entire speech, it doesn’t seem to be instigating violence anywhere. It doesn’t even directly call for the blocking of roads.
“When Donald Trump comes to India on 24 February, then we will say that the Prime Minister and the government of India are trying to divide the country. They are destroying the values of Mahatma Gandhi, and the people of India are fighting against them. If those in power want to divide India, the people of India are ready to unite the country.”
This is the exact quote of what Khalid said, regarding the protests around President Trump’s visit to India. As is evident, he makes no mention of the visit in rest of his speech.
The part alleged by Fadnavis – that Khalid predicted the riots in Delhi – couldn’t be found anywhere in the speech.
United Against Hate, an organisation Khalid is part of, also issued a statement regarding Amit Shah’s allegations.
UAH claimed that in his speech, Khalid stressed on the need to use non-violent means. In another part of the speech, he said:
“We won’t respond to violence with violence. We won’t respond to hate with hate. If they spread hate, we will respond to it with love. If they thrash us with lathis, we keep holding the tricolour. If they fire bullets, then we will hold the Constitution. If they jail us, we will go to jail singing, “Saare Jahaan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara”.
Here’s a video of the entire speech given by Umar Khalid in Amravati.