ADVERTISEMENT

2020 Delhi riots: Sharjeel Imam urges HC to grant bail in UA(P)A case on larger conspiracy

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) Student activist Sharjeel Imam on Monday urged the Delhi High Court to grant him bail in an UA(P)A case linked to the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2020 communal riots here.

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) Student activist Sharjeel Imam on Monday urged the Delhi High Court to grant him bail in an UA(P)A case linked to the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2020 communal riots here.

His counsel took the court through his alleged inflammatory speeches and argued that there was no call for any violence whatsoever by him as his method of disruption was 'entirely Gandhian'.

Imam, United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi and several others, including activist Umar Khalid, have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UA(P)A) and the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the 'masterminds' of the February 2020 riots in North East Delhi that left 53 people dead and more than 700 injured.

The violence had erupted during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan argued before a bench of justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain that no offence of indulging in any 'terrorist act' according to the UA(P)A or conspiracy with co-accused persons was made out against Imam.

'I (Imam) was only in Shaheen Bagh which was non-violent. I only wanted a thousand Shaheen Baghs. There is not a scrap of evidence to suggest belief in violent ideology,' Ramakrishnan argued.

The senior lawyer alleged that police have 'tried hard to set up a case' against him when there is 'zero evidence'.

She also claimed that 'one or two lines here and there' in the alleged provocative speeches which are already being looked into in another case cannot justify invocation of UA(P)A provisions when Imam 'abhors violence'.

The senior counsel also explained that when Imam in one of his speeches spoke on 'cutting off' Assam, he did not advocate removing the region from India.

It was also contended that bail should be awarded to Imam on account of parity with co-accused Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Tanha who were released by the high court in the case in June 2021.

On April 11, 2022, the trial court had denied relief of bail to Imam arrested on August 25, 2020, in the present case. He has been in custody since January 2020 in several FIRs in connection with the violence.

The matter would be heard next on March 19. PTI ADS ADS ANB ANB

syndicated stories

ADVERTISEMENT