Delhi riots: Jamia committee, ‘mob led by women’ among accused in cop’s murder case
The Delhi Police on Monday filed four chargesheets in cases related to the communal riots which took place in northeast Delhi in February this year, including for the murder of their head constable Rattan Lal. These are the first chargesheets to be filed in the four respective cases.
In the chargesheet in the Rattan Lal murder case, the police have said: “the north-east riots were not impromptu but were conspired with an intent to create communal strife, to malign the image of the country under the garb of democratically opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)”.
“Investigation has revealed that the protest site (where Lal was killed) was managed by the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC),” the police said in the above chargesheet.
The JCC, meanwhile, denied all charges, saying the allegations are baseless.
“These are concocted stories and baseless allegations levied by the police. The JCC was only looking after the Jamia protest site. Locals were running protests elsewhere in the capital and JCC had no involvement in it,” said a JCC member, requesting anonymity.
The other three charge sheets were filed in two murder cases – of Shahid, 25, who was found dead on February 24 and Maruf Ali on February 25 – and one chargesheet was filed in Ajay Goswami’s attempt-to-murder case.
With these four new ones, a total of 85 charge sheets were filed til Monday in a total of 752 cases pertaining to the communal riots.
Head constable Rattan Lal’s murder case
According to the police, on February 24 a mob “led by women” allegedly attacked the police team, which was being led by deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara) Amit Kumar Sharma at Wazirpur Road in Chand Bagh, where a sit-in protest was being held since mid-January. The DCP was severely injured and had been recovering in a city hospital; He was discharged around April and joined duty only last month.
The police stated in the chargesheet that on February 23, the protesters had attempted to take out “an illegal march” to Rajghat but were stopped by the police. Subsequently, they sat on the main Wazirabad Road and disrupted traffic for hours. “On the same night, a secret meeting was held and the people were directed to prepare and arm themselves for the next day,” the police have said in the chargesheet.
Police said in the chargesheet that on February 24, DCP Sharma found one Salim Munna at Wazirabad Road, Chand Bagh making an inflammatory speech and tried to dissuade him. Suddenly, a mob led by women fiercely attacked the police party, it said. “The mob indulged in rioting, causing massive loss to public and private property, and attacking the police party. Head constable was shot dead while many police personnel....were critically injured,” the police have said in the chargesheet.
During the same time, an investigator, asking not to be named, told HT that the rioters barged into the nearby Saptrishi building and resorted to “indiscriminate firing and stone pelting.”
“Later, the body of one of the rioters Shahid, 25, was found with a gunshot injury on the rooftop of the building. The bullet had pierced his body in a downward direction, suggesting that he was shot by someone who was firing from the rooftop itself,” said the investigator, asking not to be named.
According to senior officials of the crime branch privy to the prove, 17 people were arrested and have been charged in the head constable’s murder case, while six have been arrested and charged in Shahid’s murder case. Officials said they more people may be arrested and named in the supplementary chargesheet, depending on the further probe
According to the chargesheet in the Rattan Lal case, “the sit-in protest was used as a springboard to propel riots.” The ensuing riots snowballed into fierce rioting in various pockets of the north-east district. Initially, one community remained aggressive on February 24, which was followed by violent reaction from the other community the next day, the statement said.
The chargesheet in Rattan Lal murder case, running into 925 pages, mentioning 164 witnesses, was submitted before a duty magistrate in a Delhi court, which fixed June 22 as the next date of hearing in all the four cases.
Ajay Goswami attempt-to-murder case:
On February 25, a bullet hit Goswami on his back outside Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain’s house, from the terrace of which many people were allegedly firing indiscriminately. Goswami named two people – Gulfam and Tanvir – as the prime suspects and they, along with six others, including Tahir Hussain and his brother Shah Alam, were arrested in the case.
Police said in the charge sheet that in January, Hussain asked Gulfam to prepare for a “big riot” and also gave him Rs 15,000 to “purchase fresh ammunition” for his licensed weapon. Before his arrest, Hussain had denied the police’s allegations and said that he was a victim and not a suspect. He had said this was a political conspiracy.
On January 31, Gulfam purchased 100 rounds and he already had about 100 rounds stored with him, the police statement added. “Gulfam fired most of the 200 rounds on February 25 at the other party. When he finished, only seven bullets had remained with him,” another officer associated with the probe, asking not to be named said, quoting the chargesheet.
Hussain has already been charged in two other riots-cases, including the murder of Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma.
Police said they have also charged six persons for the murder of Maruf Ali on February 25. Ali was standing with his neighbour Shamshad in Subhash Mohalla, north Ghonda, when a mob raising slogans in support of CAA resorted to firing and stone pelting. Ali was shot dead while Shamshad suffered a gunshot wound in the abdomen.
At least 53 persons died while 400 others were injured during the violence which rocked parts of northeast Delhi in February.