Delhi riots: Can repetition turn a falsehood into truth, argues Umar Khalid’s counsel

New Delhi: 2020 Delhi riots ‘larger conspiracy’ case accused Umar Khalid’s advocate Trideep Pais on Wednesday challenged the Delhi Police’s repeated mention of his client’s name in the charge sheet.

Appearing before Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai of Karkardooma courts during the bail arguments, Pais argued against the media trial and stressed the need for a thorough examination of witnesses and evidence.

He questioned the validity of the charges against Khalid and criticised the prosecution’s attempt to keep him in jail.

In the previous hearing, the Delhi Police had objected to granting bail to the former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and activist in the case, alleging that Khalid has a history of manipulating social media narratives to influence bail hearings.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad had informed the court that Khalid engaged with actors and politicians to amplify his narrative to create public sympathy, framing it as part of a “larger conspiracy”.

Pais, on Wednesday, raised objections to the Delhi Police’s handling of the charge sheet during bail arguments, criticising the repetitive mention of Khalid’s name, and questioning whether repetition could turn a falsehood into truth.

He highlighted discrepancies in the treatment of other accused individuals and questioned the basis for Khalid’s continued detention.

Pais challenged the prosecution’s claim that Khalid’s sharing of certain links with individuals constituted a criminal or terror act, seeking an examination of the evidence. He also raised concerns about the media trial, citing instances of anchors reading from the charge sheet on news channels.

Counsel stressed the need for a detailed analysis of witnesses and documents to determine the validity of the terror charges against Khalid, and criticised the prosecution for what he perceived as a lack of substantial evidence.

He also cited the chilling effect of anti-terror laws on freedom of expression, saying that individuals who speak out are silenced under the pretext of national security.


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