On Wednesday, Karkardooma Court, Delhi heard the prosecution’s case that the 2020 Delhi riots were a pre-planned plot orchestrated by Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi, Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Badhwar, and others. Continuing further the case the Special Public Prosecutor produced WhatsApp chats during his four-hour arguments before Karkardooma District Court Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, claiming that Umar Khalid mentioned spilling blood in one of his meetings on January 23. The prosecutor also mentioned the witness’s statement in this regard. He emphasised the seriousness of the situation and claimed that Khalid was a key player and played a key role in the pre-planned conspiracy of Delhi riots in January 2020.
Since the date of the recent hearing, Prosecutor has been telling Court that group chats show 5 members, including Safoora & Sharjeel, already knew about upcoming violence even before Kapil Mishra’s alleged instigation on February 17.
It has been cleared in the court that the protestors were trying to (falsely) create the narrative of violence blaming BJP leader Kapil Mishra because firstly, from Feb 17 itself they were anticipating violence, and secondly, their own person says“Bhai kuch nai hua, Kapil Mishra gaya, police le gayi usse,” a message reads below.
From where this all started?
Imam attended an anti-CAA protest at Jantar Mantar on December 7th, which was organised by the ‘United Against Hate’ group, which is led by former JNU student Umar Khalid and local Muslim leader Abdul Khalid, both of whom are currently accused and imprisoned for the conspiracy. The anti-CAA movement was not natural, according to an investigation by the Delhi Police criminal branch, and the entire campaign was orchestrated by a few actors.
Sharjeel Imam united Muslim JNU students to accompany him to the Jantar Mantar. On the same day, he revealed his strategy for mobilising students from JNU, Jamia, AMU, and DU in a conversation with Warsi. Umar Khalid introduced Yogendra Yadav to Sharjeel Imam at this protest. They also agreed to meet the next day in Jangpura to continue strategizing about the action plan. The meeting took place on 8th December.
A message by Yogendra Yadav from the WhatsApp group was also shown that directs to a point that meeting did happen in ISI (Indian Social Insitute) and there was an attendance sheet to keep track of who all attended the meeting. The prosecutor raised the question, “Where is the peaceful protest here? What is the irresponsible behaviour he’s talking about in this message?”
When Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad began his day’s arguments, he mentioned a meeting on January 15-16 at ‘Chand Bagh,’ and said there are statements under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (before the magistrate) where the accused have deposed, ‘dande, patthar, laal mirch, tezaab ikkathey kiye gaye’ (canes, red chilli, acid and stones were collected).
One person named Owais talks about the issue of Violence that is allegedly being planned. He says that there is “irresponsible behaviour” and local people are being thrown under the bus, the Prosecutor stated. “Violence nahi Karne dengay tumhein aur tumhare doston ko”. “Who are these “tumhein” “tumhare dost”? People arrested are the tumhein & tumhare dost who are present in the meeting of Chand Bagh”, the prosecutor claimed.
Owais asks one of the members why people were handed over Red Chilli powder to protestors for attacking police, the prosecutor stated. He adds that these are people who are on the ground are stating these eyewitness accounts.
On the same day i.e 15th December, two violent incidents of rioting flared up near Jamia. In the ensuing violence in which protesters used petrol bombs, rods and sticks to attack police, three DTC busses were burnt, eight more were damaged apart from three motorcycles, a police vehicle and other public property. In total, 45 cops were injured.
A witness named Robert (code name used by the prosecution) stated before the magistrate, “Protest ke liye kuch paisa Jamia se aata tha, kuch atankwadi dete the”.The prosecutor also claimed that the funding used to come was from a terrorist organisation. There are shreds of evidence of Tahir Hussain converting money from white to black. It is a very unusual thing, the prosecutor claimed to have a complete chain of evidence. “Why was it needed to convert money to black? This money went to sites”, stated before the court.
The Prosecutor, citing WhatsApp chats, stated that there was pre-planned mobilisation at the behest of the ‘protest’ organisers in order to perpetuate violence, as evidenced not only by the statements recorded under section 164 by various witnesses but also by CCTV footage showing heavy mobilisation of people in the Chand Bagh area lanes. He claimed that CCTV footage included in the Chargesheet and supplementary charge sheet pointed to the pre-meditated and large-scale mobilisation.
One advocate, Mr Anas Tanwir agrees with Owais. Says “why are you digging our graves”
Another man asks on a whatsapp chat “Ye ladai Hindustan ki Ladai se Musalmaano ki ladayi kyu banti jaa rahi hai?” Rahul Roy comes in and calls this a “shift in strategy”, the Prosecutor stated. Statement of one person shown in the court says “ladies and gents were handed over lathi’s, stones, gravel etc”
Prosecutor reads a statement by witness, At a meeting, Umar Khalid told Gul “Sarkar musalmano ke khilaaf hai, bhashan se kaam nahi chalega, khoon bahana padega” ( Government is against Muslims, there’s no use of speeches, blood has to be shed)
On the group, there is a message “Aag lagwane ki poori tayyari hai” (We are entirely ready to light a fire)
Another message by Khalid Saifi on Whatsapp says there is a complaint that has been filed against Kapil Mishra. Prosecutor says this was a way of deflecting to put blame on him, where in fact it is clear from chat logs that Jaffrabad Violence planned, perpetuated. Safoora Zargar has a message sent on a WhatsApp group for “Bhim Army”, to call for a protest which has no local women involved.
No local women part of “protests”, says Prosecutor. Women mobilised and WhatsApp chats very telling to establish this, he says. Devangana Kalita, Safoora Zargar, others mobilised crowds. Protest not “organic” or but well thought out & violence pre-planned.
Prosecutor reading statement of one witness “William” (code name used by the prosecution) who says 10 buses were arranged: 250 women & children were mobilised to go to Jantar Mantar. William says he met Umar Khalid there who said that Jehangirpuri has many Bangladeshi’s & they should be ‘educated’ about CAA/NRC and shall be gathered at the protest area.
A statement before the Magistrate establishes that Jahnvi, Natasha, Umar Khalid and Tabrez were involved in a larger conspiracy connected with Delhi Riots. Statement before Magistrate says “burqa-clad” women were mobilised & ‘Pinja Tod’ members mobilised, no locals were present at the particular place.
“Pinjra Tod ki mob mentality ki wajah se, logon ki jaan khatre mei hai. Humare ghar jalne ke baad aap solidarity meeting aur relief work karlenge,” a message by One Owais, the lone guy who keeps standing against violence, finally exits the DPSG group: Prosecutor. Prosecutor plays CCTV footage of mobilisation in Chand Bagh Area on 24.02.20
“These are people preparing lathis for a ‘peaceful protest’,” he says. CCTV cameras were shown to the court. During the hearing, CCTV footage and other evidence were shown. Amit Prasad, a senior advocate, will also testify on Thursday in the case. The case will be heard again at 11 am.
The prosecutor shows the court many more videos of CCTV footage to suggest that there was planned mobilisation and people were carrying lathis. The prosecution said “Request you to keep note of the time. This is between 12.02 pm – 12.09. Most men and women in these videos (multiple being played) had dandas and Jhanda’s”
Prior to 1 clock, all cameras in the area have been diverted. All CCTV footage being shared is part of the charge sheet and supplementary Chargesheet in the Delhi Riots case, Prosecutor again shares footage that he says has gunshot sounds in the background. This is on a “hopelessly outnumbered Delhi police personnel”, he adds. Advocate Anas Tanvir says there is a concerted plan. He is a legal advisor. When we say it’s a concerted plan to violence, police becomes bad but when your own book says so, no problem?
One person Bilal is seen sharing this news on a Whatsapp group in a screenshot. All “apradhis” know, “kuch bhi hojaye, police wala nahi marna chahiya” & this news is a game-changer, the Prosecutor stated while hearing.
At 4.44 pm, after news of Delhi Jaffrabad Maujpur violence broke out suggesting Constable died after ensuing violence, Umar Khalid Called Natasha Narwal who is the “in charge” of this site. This is a twelve-minute call at 5.02 PM
When riots, bomb blasts happen, everyone perpetrating starts calling each other. There are long calls on the face of it. Devangana is responsible and “in charge” of Jaffrabad and hence called Umar Khalid. Data from phones have been deleted till the 18th and 19th of April as per the statement and phone records.
When you wipe your traces you have something to hide obviously, says Prosecutor while suggesting that data from the phones of Devangana Kalita, Umar Khalid others were wiped out. Mr Amit Prasad, SPP tells Court he missed one crucial message – which speaks of organising “Chakka Jam”. In the WhatsApp message, they were talking about blocking the road.
A Message by a Delhi police officer to Umar Khalid has been also shown in court. This is to be noted that the officer was tactful and was fully aware of the source of violence and hence messaging Khalid to call off the protest during trump visit.
Prosecutor also showed the message where the accused are talking about pressurising CM Arvind Kejriwal to do a press conference to express his helplessness.
They created multiple counter narratives to hide their perpetration of violence. Kapil Mishra narrative, police inaction narrative and Bhim Army narrative is the backup plan to pin the blame. First, they say there is police inaction then they paralyse the system, block roads and say we need ambulances. They also say police did lathi charge and on the other side they say there is a need to pressure “police inaction”. If the police were not present in the current scenario then who did Lathi Charge? Both the statements are contradictory to each other.
In February 2020, riots erupted in Delhi as part of a peaceful demonstration against the central government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Citizenship Register (NRC). Umar Khalid, a former JNU student leader, was charged in this case by the Delhi Crime Branch. On February 8, according to police, Umar Khalid convened a meeting and plotted riots. In addition, he is accused of making inflammatory speeches and inciting riots in other states.
Prosecutor concluded his side by reading out judgments to suggest that he has built a case in consonance with legal principles to prove the involvement of co-conspirators in the Delhi Riots and their bolstering towards violence. he said we have seen the use of harmful substances, firearms, and lethal weapons made available and managed by co-conspirators which are showing the whole nexus. he further says all attempts have been made to threaten the unity and integrity of India which comes under section 15 of UAPA law.
Hearings will continue next week. Court has heard the prosecution side and is like to hear rebuttal on 7th for Umar Khalid, 9th for Khalid Saifi, 9th for Shadab.