New Delhi: A Delhi court Tuesday extended by 30 days the judicial custody of Safoora Zargar and Meera Haider, Jamia Coordination Committee members booked under the stringent anti-terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act — in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana remanded them to further custody till June 25 after they were produced before him through video conferencing from Tihar jail.
Haider is a PhD student and Zargar is a MPhil student of Jamia Millia Islamia University .
Besides Haider and Zargar, Jamia student Gulfisha Khatoon, activist Khalid Saifi, former Congress councilor Ishrat Jahan and suspended AAP councilor Tahir Hussain were also produced before the court through video conferencing.
Police had moved an application seeking to extend the judicial custody of Haider, Safoora and Hussain for 30 days and till June 14 for Jahan and Saifi.
While the court allowed the police plea for Haider and Safoora, it said the applications for the rest will be taken up on the day their judicial custody would expire.
It put up the matter for further hearing May 28. Saifi and Ishrat are in judicial custody till May 30 and the judicial custody of Hussain will expire May 29.
The police said in its application that there was sufficient evidence against the accused persons to be charge sheeted under the invoked sections of UAPA, other sections of IPC and other acts in the case.
The application was moved as District and Sessions Judge of Patiala House Courts had passed an order May 22 that Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana shall deal with the entire remand work pertaining to UAPA, SC/ST Act, PMLA Act, Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, Drugs and cosmetics Act and Official Secrets Act.
This comes after the Delhi High Court had issued notices to both the Centre and the Delhi government over continued detention of Khatoon, 25-year-old MBA student under UAPA when the Special Courts which can extend her custody have not been functioning due to coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The police on Tuesday clarified before the local court that for the purpose of the extension of remands, the District Judges had deputed duty Metropolitan Magistrates in jails situated in Delhi and the remand of the accused persons were extended in terms of the directions issued by the High Court.
Advocates Akram Khan and Ritesh Dhar Dubey, appearing for Haider and Khatoon respectively, had earlier told the court that the accused have been falsely implicated in the case.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for Khatoon, had said that she has been falsely booked under the anti-terror law.
The accused have also been charged under sedition, attempt to murder, murder, criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc.
Jamia Alumni Association President Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha and Umar Khalid have also been booked under UAPA in the case. Khalid has not been arrested yet.
According to the FIR, the communal riots from February 23-26 was a “pre-meditated conspiracy” and hatched by Khalid and his associates. All the associates were linked to two different groups, FIR said.
It further claimed that as per the preplanned conspiracy, Khalid had given provoking speeches at various places and appealed to the Muslim minority community gathering to block roads and other public places during the visit of President of US Donald Trump so that the propaganda may be flashed at an international platform that Muslim minority community in India was being tortured.
In order to achieve these objectives, on February 23, riots occurred in different areas of Delhi and in furtherance of the nefarious designs, on February 23, 24, the two groups started riots in different parts of north east and Shahdara districts of Delhi which continued till February 26, the FIR alleged.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.