Delhi riots: HC orders fair probe in death of man forced to sing national anthem

Updated on Mar 16, 2022 06:11 AM IST

The incident took place on February 24, 2020, and a video of it was widely shared online in the days that followed. The deceased, Faizan, could be seen being beaten and assaulted allegedly by policemen, who also forced him to sing the national anthem and Vande Mataram.

Last month, the high court had pulled up the police for its investigation and said that its status report, which was filed in a sealed cover, was “neither here nor there”.(Sanchit Khanna/HT photo)
Last month, the high court had pulled up the police for its investigation and said that its status report, which was filed in a sealed cover, was “neither here nor there”.(Sanchit Khanna/HT photo)
By, New Delhi

The Delhi high court on Tuesday asked the Delhi Police to conduct its investigation freely — without influence or fear of anyone — into the death of a 23-year-old Muslim man who, along with others, was allegedly assaulted by policemen and forced to sing the national anthem and Vande Mataram during the north-east Delhi riots in February 2020.

.Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, while hearing a plea by Faizan’s mother Kismatun, seeking probe by a court monitored special team, also questioned the police as to why they had not filed the charge-sheet in the case, even after two years after the incident.

“Whatever important person is involved, whatever VIP is involved, you have to complete the investigation without any influence. There is a purpose for keeping this writ petition in this court. I am not here to interfere in any manner in the investigation of the investigating agency (but) if I saw anything hanky-panky in this (status) report, then I can interfere,” the judge said.

He said the case was to be taken seriously and asked the investigating agency to “take into account” the “suggestions” of the mother.

The incident took place on February 24, 2020, and a video of it was widely shared online in the days that followed. The deceased, Faizan, could be seen being beaten and assaulted allegedly by policemen, who also forced him to sing the national anthem and Vande Mataram.

Also Read | 2 yrs after Delhi riots: 2,456 held, 2 convicted

Kismatun has claimed that the police illegally detained her son following the incident, and denied him critical health care as a result of which he succumbed to injuries on February 26, 2020.

During the proceedings, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) concerned told the court that the investigation has “zeroed in on a head constable making the video” and not assaulting the victim and that no stone was being left unturned in the probe.

The judge, who remarked that there was “no ground to disbelieve” one of the highest officers in the police machinery, was further informed by Delhi Police lawyer Amit Prasad that while they have “identified some people, confirmation was needed from all angles”.

The court clarified that it was not interfering with the manner of investigation and added, “The son of a mother has died. I’m not commenting on how and when (but) it has to be taken very seriously.”.

“This court has no ground to disbelieve one of the highest-ranking officers..(I’m asking you to) without influence investigate the matter as per the mandate of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) and Delhi Police manual,” the judge said.

Delhi Police said the statements of witnesses have been recorded and one of the surviving persons, who was with the deceased, has not alleged any “violence”. The investigating agency was awaiting the outcome of certain other technical tests as well, the court was told.

Also Read | Multiple strands, piles of evidence: Inside the Delhi riots probe

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioner, stated that no arrest was made in the case and the police earlier made a false statement concerning the status of CCTV cameras in the police station (where Faizan was detained) and that the investigating agency was not probing the “second scene of the crime (the police station)”. She also sought permission to file a response to the police status report.

The police sought eight weeks to further investigate the case and further prayed for restraining media from disclosing facts pertaining to the actual role of the suspect policeman in the case. However, the court said everybody including the media are “responsible”.

The matter would be heard next in May.

Last month, the high court had pulled up the police for its investigation and said that its status report, which was filed in a sealed cover, was “neither here nor there”.

Justice Mukta Gupta had questioned the police over the increased number of injuries (20) recorded in the post mortem report of deceased Faizan as compared to the medical report prepared prior to his detention in police custody where only three injuries were recorded.

Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi on February 24, 2020, after violence between the amended citizenship law supporters and opposers spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 400 injured.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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