New Delhi: Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with north-east Delhi riots in February, told a court here on Thursday that he was not allowed to step out of his cell and it was sort of a "solitary confinement". Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat directed Tihar Jail Superintendent to be present before the court on Friday to hear the matter.
Khalid made his submissions directly to the court through video conferencing when he was produced before it on expiry of his judicial custody in the case. The court also pulled up the Assistant Jail Superintendent of Tihar prisons for not unmuting the microphone when Khalid told him that he wanted to speak to the judge.
Khalid said the official told him the microphone will be unmuted if the judge gave the permission for it. If an undertrial wants to say something, then unmute and let him speak or you tell us that he wants to say something, the judge told the jail official.
Khalid alleged that he was alone in his cell and not allowed to step out of his cell or talk to anyone. I have not been allowed to step outside at all. I am alone in my cell. No one is allowed to meet me. It is practically sort of a solitary confinement. I am not well for the last three days. I am feeling discomfort. This is like a punishment. Why am I given this punishment? I reiterate that I need security but it cannot be that I have to be in my cell all day, he claimed.
He further said that on Wednesday he was shown an order passed by Additional Superintendent Pradeep Sharma of Jail number 2, in which it was stated that Khalid should not be allowed out of his cell for 24 hours a day. I request a recall of that order. In the morning, the Jail Superintendent came and asked the jail staff to allow me to go outside. I was allowed to step out for 10 minutes and then after he left, I was not allowed to go outside since then, Khalid alleged.
When his counsel, advocate Trideep Pais, told the court that no adverse steps should be taken against him by the jail authorities for putting forward his grievances, the judge said, Khalid should not be punished for putting forward his grievances. You should take care of it. The court had on October 17 directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to provide adequate and security in judicial custody. The directions came on an application filed by Khalid seeking adequate security in prison so that he was not harmed by anyone in judicial custody.
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.