A man stands near burnt motorcycles in a riot-affected area, at Shiv Vihar, in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
A man stands near burnt motorcycles in a riot-affected area, at Shiv Vihar, in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

Delhi riots planners ran a well-oiled, sustained campaign: Police

In the supplementary charge sheet filed in the conspiracy leading to the riots in February, the special cell of the Delhi Police have detailed the role of Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan.
By Richa Banka | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 26, 2020 02:11 AM IST

The Delhi Police have alleged that the conspirators in the north east Delhi communal riots ran a “sustained and well-oiled” campaign to create an acute sense of fear and insecurity in the minds of the minority community and while they remained safe in their homes, the brunt of their actions were borne by those who have to struggle daily for their sustenance.

In the supplementary charge sheet filed in the conspiracy leading to the riots in February, the special cell of the Delhi Police have detailed the role of Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan. The charge sheet was filed on Sunday and the court took cognizance on Tuesday. Earlier, in the main charge sheet filed in September, the police had named 15 accused, including former councillors Tahir Hussain and Ishrat Jahan, Pinjra Tod members Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and student-activists such as Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon among others.

As many as 53 people were killed and over 400 others injured in the riots that took place between February 23 and 26 in different parts of north east Delhi. The police claims that the accused had conspired with each other to orchestrate riots during the visit of the US President Donald Trump in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The police alleged that the offences committed by Khalid and Imam were “extremely brutal”, “grotesque”, and were a “crime against humanity”.

The police said that Khalid did not take the personal security officers, who were assigned to him after an attack at the Constitution Club in 2018, to the conspiratorial meetings, which according to the charge sheet shows “a totally depraved, brutal and scheming mind”.

Umar Khalid’ counsel Trideep Pais had earlier said that though his client was against the idea of the new Citizenship law; and that he (Khalid) was not ashamed of it, Khalid was not involved in any violence of the conspiracy of the riots.

Ahmad Ibrahim, Sharjeel’s lawyer, said even before the counsels have not got the charge sheet and would be supplied on December 2, it’s already out in the media. He said that he is yet to read the charge sheet and would be able to comment on the allegations only when he has read the document.

“Innocent victims and helpless were targeted of this ghastly, horrendous and horrifying crime. Precious lives were lost. Accused persons are charge-sheeted for commission of grave, serious and heinous offences,” the charge sheet read.

“It is pertinent to mention here that their acts and commissions have shocked the collective conscience of the society,” it read.

Faizan Khan has been accused of supplying SIM card to co-accused Asif Iqbal Tanha. The police have said that the same SIM was later used by student activist Safoora Zargar.

“Accused Faizan Khan and Asif Iqbal Tanha were actively involved in executing the preparatory work for commission of the unlawful and terrorist act executed by co-accused persons,” the police claimed.

The court will hear the case next on December 22 after the trial in the case was stayed by the Delhi high court on an appeal by the police challenging an earlier order of the trial court directing them to supply physical copies of the charge sheet.

The police alleged that Imam was “baptized” a day before the preparatory meeting which laid the foundation of Delhi Protest Support Group (DPSG). The charge sheet says that Imam then embarked on a journey across states and subsequently six FIRs were registered against him, primarily for sedition and inciting communal hatred.

The charge sheet stated all efforts of the conspirators were geared towards giving the anti-CAA/NRC protests a profound communal colour.

It further said that the criminal conspiracy was continuing and has suffered setbacks with the exposure and arrest of the accused persons but it was neither aborted nor abandoned.

Highlighting the role of Jamia Millia Islamia student and co-accused Meeran Haider, the police said that he was one of the top conspirators and created a ruse to malign Sharjeel Imam so as to convey that DPSG had parted ways with the “rabid, communal Sharjeel Imam”.

“Haider, as the faithful deputy of Umar Khalid, knew very well in his heart that Sharjeel Imam was nowhere returning to Shaheen Bagh and was faithfully executing his task and role in the conspiracy as assigned by the principal conspirators.

However, as soon as the news of the arrest of Imam became public, the key conspirators returned to their true colours and started “massive mobilisation to press for his release”.

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