UAPA case: Ex-JNU student Umar Khalid withdraws bail plea from SC

Former JNU student Umar Khalid on Wednesday withdrew his bail plea from the Supreme Court in a case lodged under anti-terror law UAPA over his alleged involvement in the conspiracy behind the northeast Delhi riots of February 2020. A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khalid, that he wishes to withdraw the bail plea due to “change in circumstances”.

Sibal said, “I wish to argue the legal question (challenging UAPA provisions) but wants to withdraw the bail plea due to change in circumstances. We will try our luck in trial court.”

The senior lawyer, however, did not elaborate on “change in circumstances”.

The bench accepted the request of Sibal and ordered for withdrawal of the bail plea of Khalid.

Khalid has challenged the October 18, 2022 order of the Delhi High Court by which his bail plea was rejected.

The high court had rejected Khalid’s bail plea, saying he was in constant touch with other co-accused and the allegations against him were prima facie true.

The high court had also said the actions of the accused prima facie qualified as “terrorist act” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law UAPA and several provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

The violence had erupted during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Khalid, arrested by the Delhi Police in September 2020, had sought bail on grounds that he neither had any criminal role in the violence nor any “conspiratorial connect” with any other accused in the case.

The Delhi Police had opposed Khalid’s bail plea in the high court, saying the speech delivered by him was “very calculated” and he brought up contentious issues like Babri Masjid, triple talaq, Kashmir, the alleged suppression of Muslims and the CAA and NRC.

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