North East Delhi Riots 2020

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the city police on a plea by Alumni Association Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) President Shifa-ur-Rehman seeking bail in a UAPA case related to the alleged larger conspiracy behind the riots here in February 2020. A bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice on the appeal of the accused challenging the rejection of his bail by the trial court and directed that the matter be listed before another bench dealing with the bail pleas of other accused in the case.

“List the appeal before the bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar subject to the order of the Acting Chief Justice on July 3. The status report will be filed in the meantime,” stated the bench also comprising Justice Anish Dayal. Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad informed the court that certain bail cases concerning the same conspiracy are already pending before the other bench. Shifa-ur-Rehman and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code in the case for being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

Besides the present accused, the police have also charge-sheeted former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi, former Congress councilor Ishrat Jahan, Pinjra Tod activists Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Natasha Narwal, and Devangana Kalita and former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain in the case. The bail applications of Khalid and Imam are already pending before the bench headed by Justice Mridul.

On April 7, the trial court had dismissed the bail plea of Rehman, saying that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the accused was “prima facie” true. The prosecution had opposed the bail application before the trial court arguing that there were statements of numerous witnesses including protected public witnesses highlighting the incriminating material against the accused. A broad reading of all the statements brings out the role of the accused Rehman in the context of conspiracy and riots, it had said.

The court had also argued that the accused was a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) and the WhatsApp group of the JMI Coordination Committee and others. The violence had erupted during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

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