Khalid Saifi to court: Prosecution trying to communalise riots case

Founder of the United Against Hate campaign, Khalid Saifi, who is accused in a UAPA case in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots, told a Delhi court through his lawyer that the prosecution is attempting to communalise the narrative.

Appearing on behalf of Saifi before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, the submissions for bail were made by senior advocate Rebecca John. The court will pronounce its order on the bail arguments after her rebuttals to the prosecution’s arguments are complete.

On allegations that Saifi attended a protest at Jantar Mantar, John said, “Jantar Mantar was a protest site opened for public, nothing secretive about it. Since time immemorial, people have gone there to air their grievances.”

Regarding the prosecution’s claims that Saifi met Umar Khalid, John said there was no evidence, and on allegations of Saifi having addressed a meeting, John said, “Assume that’s true, even then that’s not evidence of any robust kind which can corroborate their story of conspiracy.”

John read out messages from a WhatsApp group called DPSG, wherein participants had mentioned how they should protest outside the CM’s office over police inaction. “How this incriminates me beats my reasoning or imagination. I own the message. The message only says that the police have not been able to control riots and there should be accountability. Even if I have asked the CM to hold a press conference, that’s within my rights as an Indian citizen,” John argued.

Rejecting the argument that the protest was communal, not organic, and that it was a conspiracy of silence, John said, “The protest was not communal except that the persons who were against the Bill belonged to a particular community.”

John stated that the prosecutor was selectively reading WhatsApp chats: “Either you read it together or don’t. But I object to the attempt made by the prosecution to take out messages in isolation. In the same chat, there are messages about Delhi Police and paramilitary forces attacking peaceful protesters. Why is the prosecution attempting to communalise the narrative? Don’t lay the narrative on one community…”

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