Umar Khalid withdraws bail plea from SC, to seek bail afresh from trial court

Khalid was booked under the anti-terror law UAPA and several provisions of the IPC for allegedly being a 'mastermind' of the February 2020 northeast Delhi violence.
Umar Khalid.
Umar Khalid.File photo

NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented turn of events on Wednesday, former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and activist Umar Khalid, withdrew his bail plea application from the Supreme Court in connection with the Delhi riots conspiracy case in February 2020.

The two-judge bench of the Top Court, headed by Justice Bela M Trivedi and also comprising Justice Pankaj Muthal, while noting down his submissions, allowed him to withdraw the bail plea.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khalid, told the Apex Court that the petition is being withdrawn on the ground that there is certain "change in circumstances."

He further said that now he would seek fresh bail in the case before the trial court. "We will try our luck in the trial court now," Sibal submitted to the Top Court.

After around 15 adjournments in the case, going on for several months in the Supreme Court, Khalid could not get any relief.

A social activist, Khalid has been in jail since his arrest by the Delhi Police on September 14, 2020, accusing him of being part of a larger conspiracy in the Delhi riots case. He was booked under the very stringent UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). Khalid has denied the charges and claimed innocent in the case.

Umar Khalid approached the top court, challenging an October 2022 Delhi High Court verdict that had denied bail to him.

In March 2022, Khalid had approached the Delhi High Court, seeking 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 the bail plea of Khalid in the HC.

Others arrested in the case include PhD scholar Sharjeel Imam, activist Khalid Saifi, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, student activist Gulfisha Fatima, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha and Meeran Haider, former AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) councillor, Tahir Hussain and Congress councillor Ishrat Jahaan.

The violence that followed attacks on Muslims during anti-CAA-NRC protests in North-east Delhi in February 2020, had claimed the lives of 53 people, mostly Muslims, and injured over 700, according to official records.

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