After arresting former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, the Delhi Police has summoned filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan for questioning in connection with riots that took place in north-east Delhi between February 23 and 27.
Roy was earlier named in a supplementary charge sheet filed by the police in connection with the riots. While Dewan was not mentioned in the charge sheet, another investigator said that the two were part of a WhatsApp group called ‘Delhi Protests Support Group’. Both Roy and Dewan did not respond to phone calls for comments.
According to reports, at least 15 members of the WhatsApp group have been questioned so far. JNU students and women’s collective Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal were a part of this group as was Delhi University Professor Apoorvanand, whose phone was seized recently.
In the aftermath of the violence in Delhi, based on the information provided by sub-inspector Arvind Kumar, FIR 50/20 was registered. The FIR states that the violence was a “premeditated conspiracy” and named several people.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police, which is investigating the case, has arrested 20 people until now including 16 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Of these, only four have got bail and 16 are still in jail.
On February 26, Roy had filed a petition for ensuring the safe passage of injured people in riot-affected areas of north-east Delhi. Based on his petition and given the urgency of the situation, a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani was constituted past midnight on February 26 to respond to the crisis at Al Hind Hospital in New Mustafabad.
After hearing Roy’s petition, the court directed Delhi Police “to ensure safe passage by deploying all the resources at its command and on the strength of this order to ensure that apart from the safe passage, the injured victims receive immediate emergency treatment, if not at the GTB Hospital, then at the LNJP Hospital or Maulana Azad or any other government hospital”.
In case of Umar Khalid, allegations against him were first aired on social media by Bharatiya Janata Party activists and his name appears in two separate charge sheets – 65/2020 and 101/2020 – as a participant in a meeting at Shaheen Bagh on January 8, 2020, where the alleged conspiracy to use US President Donald Trump’s visit to “embarrass” the Modi government first took shape. The police still has not been able to explain how the conspiracy could have happened on that day as news speculating about a Trump’s visit to Delhi was first published on January 13, 2020.
In 2016, Khalid was charged with sedition along with former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar. In 2018, he was targeted by a gunman who opened fire at him outside Constitution Club in Delhi.