New Delhi (3 Min Read): A Delhi court on Thursday directed the Tihar Jail superintendent to appear before it after former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid informed the court that he is not being allowed to step out of his jail cell, which he claimed is akin to solitary confinement, taking a toll on his mental and physical health.
On September 24, Additional Sessions Judge of the Karkardooma Court, Amitabh Rawat, had sent Khalid to judicial custody till October 22. He was produced before the court through a video conference at the end of his remand period on Thursday.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Khalid on September 13 under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In the FIR, the police had claimed that the communal violence that broke out in north-east Delhi in February this year was a premeditated conspiracy which was allegedly hatched by Khalid and others.
“I am aware of the order passed by the court that I should be given adequate security cover and continue with the normal jail routine without any discrimination or distinction. However, in the last 3-4 days, I have not been allowed to step out of my jail cell and I am alone in it. It is practically solitary confinement,” Khalid told the court.
The court has now asked the Tihar Jail superintendent to appear before it on Friday. The judge also reserved the order on the extension of judicial remand of Khalid and JNU research scholar Sharjeel Imam for Friday. The police have sought extension of their remand for 30 more days.
Khalid further informed the court, “I wanted to bring it to your since it is in convention to your orders. On Wednesday, I was shown an order passed by additional superintendent Pradeep Sharma of Jail 2, in which it was stated that I should not be allowed out of my cell for 24 hours a day.”
The former JNU student added that he was allowed to step out of the cell for 10 minutes in the morning when the jail superintendent came to visit him.
“After 10 minutes I was again put inside my cell. This is causing me extreme discomfort, apart from the mental stress.”
“I have also not been well for the last three days and not being allowed to go for a walk only adds to my physical discomfort. It is like a punishment. I reiterate that I need security, but it does not mean that I will not be allowed out for the whole day,” Khalid said.
He further complained to the court that the jail staff refused to unmute the microphone for him to talk to the judge during the video conference. To this, the court lambasted the staff, saying: “If the undertrial wants to say something, you must inform the court so that he can be unmuted. Please take care of it.”
On March 6, an FIR was registered against Khalid and one Danish based on information provided by an informer to Crime Branch sub-inspector Arvind Kumar.
According to the FIR, complainant Arvind Kumar said that the riots in north-east Delhi were premeditated. “The conspiracy was hatched by Umar Khalid and two others associated with different organisations,” the FIR stated.
Khalid gave provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to the people to block the roads during US President Donald Trump’s visit to spread propaganda at the international level about how minorities in India were being persecuted, the FIR added.
Khalid and his associates brought women and children to the road at several places in a bid to hatch a conspiracy to incite riots, the sub-inspector alleged, adding that firearms, petrol bombs, acid bottles and stones were stored at homes in Kardampuri, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Shiv Vihar and nearby areas as part of the conspiracy.
Explaining the conspiracy, the complainant said that co-accused Danish was given the responsibility of gathering people from different places to take part in the violence.
“On February 23, women and children were made to block the roads under the Jafrabad Metro Station to create tension amid the neighbourhood people in a bid to give rise to riots,” it added.
Communal violence broke out in north-east Delhi on February 24 after clashes between the pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act supporters spiralled out of control, leaving 53 people dead and 748 injured.
Khalid has also been named in the chargesheets filed in various cases related to the riots. He was also arrested on October 1 in a case related to the riots in the Khajuri Khas area.