Syed Umar Khalid is an Indian Muslim leader who called himself a proud Indian communist activist. He is the former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the former leader of the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU).
In his father’s words, “his ideology has become his worst enemy. He is a meritorious student, and did his MA and MPhil in such a prestigious institution. The country’s media is slowly turning on him because he is a perfect fit: A Muslim face with views that don’t gel with the State’s opinion on things.”
According to his friends, he is a self-proclaimed atheist. He was also associated with United Against Hate (UAH), a campaign founded along with Nadeem Khan in July 2017 in response to the series of lynchings.
Circumstances of Arrest
All his arrests are politically motivated and have been severely criticized by various civil societies, including international bodies.
Charges & Allegations
1. Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition row – arrested on – February 23 2016
Repercussion faced –
– Rusticated for one semester.
– JNU refused to allow him to submit his Ph.D. thesis in July 2018.
– Khalid went to the Delhi High Court and obtained an order allowing him to submit his thesis.
– On August 2, 2018, JNU accepted the Ph.D. thesis submission.
- Bhima Koregaon incident – 2018
FIR for giving ‘provocative’ speeches in Pune.
Booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 117 (abetting commission of an offence by the public) of the Indian Penal Code.
Case probe handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA)
- Accused under the UAPA law- (The infamous FIR 59/2020 and FIR no. 101 P.S. Khajuri Khas)
For his alleged “provocative speeches” during the visit of American president Donald Trump to India – on February 25 2020 (link of speech)
Delhi police considered his speeches as instigating and facilitating Delhi riots – February 23, 2020.
On September 14, 2020, Khalid was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell as an alleged conspirator in the Delhi Riots case.
Umar has been denied bail many times. In the recent hearing on 23rd May 2022 Senior advocate Trideep Pais, representing Khalid, advocated, “Several of the acts or instances cited against me (Khalid) were not even qualifying (as) terror. They were just either protests or meetings. They did not qualify even as terror or conspiracy. I did not participate in any violent protest, nor is there any material to show my participation in the violent protest.” With the present scenario in India, the road to freedom looks hazy for Umar Khalid.