Elgar Parishad case: JNU student Umar Khalid says speech not scripted

Khalid had attended the event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017.

Published: 15th April 2022 12:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2022 12:47 PM   |  A+A-

Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid

Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid (Photo | PTI)


MUMBAI: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid has told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that no one had given him a script for his speech at the Elgar Parishad event, which allegedly led to violence in Bhima-Koregaon in Pune.

Khalid had attended the event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017.

A Pune resident, who lodged a police complaint against Khalid, claimed that the JNU student had made "provocative" speeches at the event and his remarks were aimed at creating disharmony and rift between the communities, which led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018.

An FIR was registered against Khalid for allegedly making provocative speeches, but he was never made an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which the NIA is probing into.

In his statement to the investigating agency, Khalid said he was invited to the meeting by Justice (retired) B G Kolse-Patil, one of the organisers of the event.

Khalid's statement was part of the voluminous set of documents submitted by the NIA as "additional evidence" before the special court recently.

"During my visit to Pune, I stayed at the house of Justice (retired) Kolse Patil. I don't remember who arranged the flight tickets for me. Before delivering my speech at any place, I take local knowledge from any known person. No one had given me any script of speech for the Elgar Parishad meeting," the student-activist has stated.

Many people were present on the stage at the Elgar Parishad meeting and a video of it can be seen on YouTube along with his speech, he said.

Once the event got over, Khalid said he went to retd Justice Kolse Patil's house.

"Next day, many media persons came to his house. I had also given one bite to a media person. At that time many persons related to the Elgar Parishad meeting were present in Justice Kolse Patil's house. At about 11 am, I came to know that BJP and RSS persons had attacked people who came to visit Bhima Koregaon," the statement quoting Khalid said.

Khalid has also told the NIA that he knew Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, as she had come to JNU to deliver a speech, and he also knew another accused Arun Ferreira because he had attended his book launch event.

Besides Khalid's statement, the major chunk of the “additional evidence” has the details of the programmes and meetings held at Bagaicha, an organization founded by Father Stan Swamy.

Swamy, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, died in July last year while waiting for bail on medical grounds.

In its latest documents, the NIA has also submitted statements of Xavier Soreng and David Soloman, both said to be very close to Swamy.

The duo was part of the managing team of Bagaicha.

In the statement, the duo has claimed that the premises of Bagaicha was used by several organisations for their training programmes.

The document, with which the witnesses were confronted, claimed that one of the expected outcomes for the project was "forming strong unions from unorganised sector, working class, minorities, with a long-term agenda of challenging fascist ruling powers in Jharkhand and other states. To establish working relations with certain banned rebel groups who have well-oiled network in and around the tribal belt of Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh".

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city's outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

The probe in the case, in which more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was later transferred to the NIA.

Follow The New Indian Express channel on WhatsApp


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp