Delhi riots accused Saifi and Jahan have in their disclosure statements named Salman and Bhushan for making "provocative speeches" during anti-CAA protests.
Delhi riots chargesheet: Congress leader Salman Khurshid, CPI-ML Politburo member Kavita Krishnan and lawyer Prashant Bhushan were among the prominent people called to allegedly make “provocative speeches” during protests against the Citizenship Act that allegedly led to riots in North East Delhi in February. These people have been named by the accused persons, Khalid Saifi and former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan.
The Indian Express reports that Saifi and Jahan have in their disclosure statements named Salman and Bhushan for making “provocative speeches” during anti-CAA protests. The report says that Saifi’s disclosure statement to Delhi Police mentions that to “keep the protest going and sustaining it for long”, he and Jahan called many people, including Khurshid, to deliver “provocative speech”.
“Those sitting on dharna used to keep sitting for these provocative speeches and they used to get the zeal to campaign against the government for the sake of their religion,” the IE quoted his disclosure statement to Delhi Police. A protected witness too made a somewhat similar statement and named Khurshid as having made a provocative speech.
Khurshid, however, trashed the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police saying a “chargesheet is supposed to be distilled, authentic, effective and useful evidence of a cognizable offence”. He further says that if someone says that some people came and made provocative speeches, it can’t be that all of them made the same kind of provocative speech and each one had the same level of provocation. “Provocation and mobilisation is not a criminal offence in this country,” Khurshid says while speaking to IE.
Prashant Bhushan too defended his speech and said that it was Delhi Police’s strategy to implicate any prominent person who was speaking in support of anti-CAA protests. He said that he did go to a few places and speak quite strongly against the citizenship act and in support of protests. “I never make any speech which is provocative in the sense that it provokes violence. I did speak strongly against the government and if they get provoked, then I can’t really help it,” Bhushan said.
The disclosure statement of Saifi and Jahan also mentions student activist Kawalpreet Kaur and scientist Gauhar Raza for their role in instigating Muslims and sending out provocative messages and tweets. Apart from Saifi and Jahana, Shadab Ahmed, one of the 15 accused, named 38 persons including Krishnan, Kaur and Umar Khalid’s father SQR Ilyas as having made “provocative speeches” at the Chand Bagh protest site, the report said.
However, Krishnan, Kaur and Raza have refuted the allegations calling it a “conspiracy” and “absurd and false”. Speaking to IE, Krishnan said that the speeches she made and the meetings she attended were a matter of public record. “The Delhi Police is trying to claim that this speech making and meetings between activists, which is routine in Delhi, is some conspiracy,” she said.
Ishrat’s lawyer Pradeep Teotia, however, said that the disclosure statement was not written by Ishrat. “She has not disclosed anything. This was written by police. A disclosure statement is inadmissible under Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act,” IE quoted Teotia as saying.