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Lawyer takes objection to police's claim of women being put in front during 2020 Delhi riots 

Lawyer takes objection to police's claim of women being put in front during 2020 Delhi riots 

Published:28 November 2022

The counsel for United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi, arrested in a UAPA case related to the 2020 riots, Monday took objection to the Delhi Police's claim that women were put in front of the protests against the CAA, saying it was a “terribly problematic remark” as if they were “brainless women” who did not know what they were fighting for.

New Delhi | The counsel for United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi, arrested in a UAPA case related to the 2020 riots, Monday took objection to the Delhi Police's claim that women were put in front of the protests against the CAA, saying it was a “terribly problematic remark” as if they were “brainless women” who did not know what they were fighting for.
Senior advocate Rebecca John said this remark appeared throughout the charge sheet filed in the case that ‘auraton ko aage bitha diya' (women were put in front).
“This constantly saying women were put is front, I take strong objection. As if the women have no agency to protest in this country. As if women need men to tell them to go in front and protest against the police action or State action. This is a terribly problematic remark which appears throughout the charge sheet that ‘auraton ko aage bitha diya, as if they are brainless women who don't know what they were fighting for,” she argued.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar was hearing arguments on the bail plea of 42-year-old Khalid Saifi, who was arrested on March 21, 2020 under anti-terror law UAPA for being part of the conspiracy behind the riots.
The counsel said Saifi was managing the protest site at Khureji Khas but was not part of any unlawful activity.
She said the Khureji Khas protest site was not the scene of any communal violence but where a clash occurred between the police and protesters. That is why his co-accused former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan got bail in the case, she said.
The counsel contended if this were a case where UAPA had not been invoked, most of the courts would have thrown out the evidence.
“But the moment UAPA is imposed, the court comes to the conclusion that this was a grave conspiracy,” she said.
She added the WhatsApp messages used by police to claim a conspiracy behind the riots cannot be read in isolation, and if they are, then the court also has to look at the messages which reveal that Saifi was tortured in custody.
The court will continue hearing the arguments on Tuesday.
The counsel had earlier stated Saifi is already on bail in two out of three cases against him in relation to the riots and the trial court's finding that the objective of one of the WhatsApp groups that he was a part of was to coordinate a 'chakka jam' (shutdown) is factually incorrect.
Besides Khalid Saifi, the appeals of accused Shifa Ur Rehman, Saleem Khan, Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima and Salim Malik against the dismissal of their bail applications by the trial court are pending before the high court.
The Delhi Police's challenge to the trial court order granting bail to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan in the case is also part of the batch.
Khalid Saifi, Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.
The violence had erupted during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). 


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