Delhi 2020 riots: Fatima’s bail plea to be heard on Dec 14

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday heard an appeal by Delhi riots accused Gulfisha Fatima, challenging the trial court’s order denying her bail in case of criminal conspiracy to organise the February 2020 riots.

A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar has listed the matter for hearing on December 14.

Fatima was denied bail by trial court in March 2022.

Fatima’s counsel, advocate Sushil Bajaj submitted all the prosecution witnesses are either hearsay or the persons who were not present at all the protest meetings. He argued that the first step should be to corroborate the evidence.

Bajaj also alleged that each of the witnesses is a pardoned accused and they are masquerading as witnesses against Fatima.

As per the police, in the disclosure statement, Fatima told police about the January 15 Seelampur demonstration and said: “The crowd had started growing according to the plan, big leaders and lawyers started coming in to provoke and mobilise this crowd, including Omar Khalid, Chandrashekhar ‘Ravan’, Yogendra Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, and lawyer Mahmood Pracha.”

According to the charge sheet: “Pracha said that sitting in the demonstration is your democratic right and the rest of the leaders fuelled the feeling of discontent in the community by calling CAA and NRC anti-Muslim.”

The names of economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor, and activist Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy also figured in the charge sheet. In the statement, activisits Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal said that they were asked by the three persons to protest against the CAA and NRC and go to any extreme.

Other main accused persons allegedly linked with the larger conspiracy case, including former JNU student Umar Khalid, United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi, Congress former councillor Ishrat Jahan, AAP former councillor Tahir Hussain and RJD youth wing’s Meeran Haider.

Communal violence broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24, 2020, after clashes between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment Act) and those opposed to it.

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