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Delhi Court Denies Bail to Activist Umar Khalid in 2020 Delhi Riots Case

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On Tuesday, a Delhi court denied the bail petition of activist and former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, who is accused of conspiring to incite communal riots in the capital in 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai of the Karkardooma Courts delivered the verdict. The detailed order has not yet been made public.

Khalid had withdrawn his bail plea from the Supreme Court on February 24, citing changed circumstances in his case, and subsequently approached the Delhi court. His bail petition had been adjourned 14 times before the top court.

Khalid faces charges including criminal conspiracy, rioting, and unlawful assembly under the Indian Penal Code, along with offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), India’s anti-terrorism law.

The case relates to the violent clashes in North East Delhi from February 23 to February 26, 2020, which resulted in 53 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The violence erupted between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act, with the majority of those killed being Muslims.

The Delhi Police have alleged that the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. They claimed that Khalid used social media and his connections with prominent individuals to amplify a false narrative in his favour.

Khalid, who was arrested on September 13, 2020, maintains that he had no involvement in the violence and denies any conspiratorial connection with other accused individuals. He has also filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of several provisions of the UAPA.

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