In Delhi riots case, Umar Khalid today informed a Delhi Court that the Tihar jail authorities were ensuring that he “does not step out of his cell” for the entire day.
Today, Khalid judicial custody ended and was virtually produced beforeJudge Amitabh Rawat of the Additional Sessions Court at Karkardooma. Describing his time at Tihar as “solitary confinement”, Khalid stated that such an action was in violation of the court’s orders. And he informed the judge through video conference that,
“I am aware of the October 17 order that I should be given security cover and allowed to carry jail routine without discrimination. I am not being allowed to step out of my cell. No one is allowed to talk to me. This is like solitary confinement. When the jail superintendent visited me, I expressed this issue. I was let out for 10 minutes and when the superintendent went back, I was put inside again. I need security, but security cannot be that I don’t step out at all.”
Judge Amitabh Rawat then called for the jail superintendent to be present before court to address the issue.
“We will ask the Jail Superintendent to be present tomorrow. No additional or junior,” he said.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad submitted that, an application for extension of remand for a period of 30 days has been moved before the court.
However, Judge Rawat refused to take a call on the application without seeing the files himself, in person. The Additional Sessions Judge was not present in court today owing to health reasons. Furthermore, Khalid also complained of being kept on mute while the case was heard by the jail staff. Thereafter, Judge Rawat called for the jail staff and said,
“When an under trial expresses a grievance, it does not mean he has to be punished.”
“Please unmute and inform court that undertrial wants to speak. Also ask the jail superintendent to be personally present tomorrow via the virtual hearing for tomorrow. No half-hearted measures, please.”
Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid was arrested by the Delhi Police on September 13 pursuant to an FIR filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] in connection with the riots that broke out earlier this year. And, His custody was subsequently extended to October 22.
It is the prosecution’s case that the Delhi riots were part of a premeditated, deep-rooted conspiracy which was hatched by Khalid and his associates from various organizations. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the police has claimed, Khalid gave provocative speeches asking citizens to come out on the streets to protest and spread propaganda about minorities in India being persecuted.