Riots 2020 HC lists for hearing on July 11 Delhi police appeal against bail to Ishrat Jahan

     New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI)The Delhi High Court on Thursday listed for hearing on July 11 a plea by Delhi Police against the bail granted to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan in the case concerning the larger conspiracy behind the riots of February 2020 in the city's north-east area.
     Justice Anu Malhotra directed that appeal of the investigating agency, which assails the trial court order of March 14, be listed before a division bench on Monday.
     Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that since the plea concerns the offences under the UAPA, it should be heard by a division bench as per the law.
     He further informed that the bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul was already hearing the bail plea by co-accused Umar Khalid.
     "Subject to orders of the Chief Justice, proceedings of the present criminal appeal with all its applications be listed for hearing before the division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar on July 11," the court ordered.
     Jahan, along with several others, has been booked under the anti-terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) -- in the case for being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
     The violence erupted during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
     In the appeal, police said that the trial court order granting bail to Ishrat Jahan is perverse, against the law and it failed to take into account the gravity of the offence and the evidence which suggested that the violence in North-East Delhi erupted pursuant to the conspiracy hatched by her and the other co-accused.
     “The Learned Trial Court lost sight of the fact that several people had lost their lives in these riots and disturbed the even tempo of life and be prejudicial to the public order apart from undermining national security, their effect was not confined to a few individuals but impacted a wide spectrum of public,” the appeal said.
     “The Learned Trial Court lost sight of the fact that the respondent being "closely connected" with the other conspirators, played a very active role in the entire conspiracy of organising the so-called protest at the protest site which resulted in riots, killing numerous people besides injuries and destruction of property," it added.
     The appeal further claimed that the “disruptive chakka-jam (road blockade)” done by the accused persons was a terrorist act and “general disenchantment was sought to be created affecting the security of the state.”
     Freedom of speech and expression does not encompass the right to incite violence or hold violent protests, the plea said.
     “A communally surcharged environment was deliberately created by the conspirators sharply dividing the religious communities hardening cleavages and eliminating any possibility of consensus apart from disavowing all belief in the efficacy and worth of the existing system and portraying the political establishment inimical to a religious community,” the appeal asserted.
     “It is submitted that having roused sentiments and created a sense of insecurity the likelihood that any act or disorder would have the potential of tumultuous consequences could not only be foreseen but it is apparent that the conspirators desired these consequences, their conduct being clearly resolved to bring about that result having shaped their behaviour to achieve this end. The intent to disrupt the feeling of unity and strike terror is clearly obvious. In any event the likelihood of this could not but be known,” it further said.
     On March 14, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had said that the role of Jahan in the case, on a prima facie consideration, had persuaded the court to grant her the relief of bail in spite of the embargoes contained in the law.
     The trial court had stated that as per the charge sheet or the statement of witnesses, Jahan was neither the one who "created the idea of chakka-jam" nor was she a member of any of the incriminating WhatsApp groups or organisations.
     It had said that the accused was involved in the protest site at Khureji which was not located in the area where the riots took place and she was neither physically present in North-East Delhi for riots nor has her name cropped up in the flurry of calls or any CCTV footage or in any conspiratorial meetings".
     Besides Jahan, activist Khalid Saifi, Umar Khalid, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under the stringent law in the case. PTI ADS

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