Is opposition to CAA, scrapping of Article 370 illegal in itself? Umar Khalid asks Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved order in the appeal filed by human rights activist Umar Khalid challenging the trial court’s order refusing him bail in case involving charges under draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) alleging a larger conspiracy in the northeast Delhi anti-Muslim pogrom of 2020.

“Speeches of one other co-accused (Sharjeel Imam) and mine have references to triple talaq bill, Article 370, participation in protests and some whatsapp messages. But at the heart of it lies opposition to CAA. That is the only component. Is the opposition to scrapping of Article 370 or triple talaq or CAA illegal in itself?” Live Law quotes Umar Khalid as arguing.

Khalid was referring to the prosecution’s argument that the speeches made by Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam had a ‘common factor’, essence of which was to create a sense of fear in the Muslim population of the country, as they addressed common issues like triple talaq, scrapping of Article 370, Babri Masjid…etc.

Khalid was arrested on 13 September, 2020 and has been under custody since.

“To show that two persons opposed to CAA, there are various people who have opposed CAA, there are former judges who have made statements but other than showing commonality of thinking, nothing else shows meeting of minds for committing a crime or some kind of physical manifestation of agreement, as held by the Supreme Court, its not there,” Khalid said.

Khalid’s lawyer Senior Advocate Trideep Pais also argued that there were no recoveries made from Umar Khalid, no linking of mind shown by the prosecution and that he was not even present during any of the violent acts as alleged by the prosecution.

Khalid added “Conspiracy is not towards raising issue of injustice, it should be towards violence in Delhi.”

There was nothing illegal or inciteful about Umar Khalid’s Amravati speech, the lawyer said to the court.

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