Delhi riots: Court takes cognizance of charges under UAPA
Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat posted the matter for September 21. The court is yet to take cognizance of the charges listed under sections of sedition, promoting enmity between religious groups and criminal conspiracy for which the police will first have to take prosecution sanction from the Delhi government.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 04:48 IST
A Delhi court on Thursday took cognizance of the charge sheet filed by the Delhi police’s special cell under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against 15 persons for alleged conspiracy to orchestrate communal riots in north-east Delhi.
Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat posted the matter for September 21. The court is yet to take cognizance of the charges listed under sections of sedition, promoting enmity between religious groups and criminal conspiracy for which the police will first have to take prosecution sanction from the Delhi government.
During the day, ASJ Rawat also granted bail to Natasha Narwal, one of the 15 persons named in the special cell, in another riots-related case.
The court observed that though Narwal was seen in a video during a protest in north-east Delhi, the videos did not show her rioting. The crime branch had arrested Narwal for in a case related to violent clashes in Jafrabad during an anti-CAA protest. The court said that the prosecution can’t say that the accused should not get bail until all witnesses were examined. It said that there is no specific allegation of threat to witnesses, who are, in any case, protected and their identity concealed.
However, Narwal will continue to remain in jail because she is yet to get bail in the conspiracy case.
The special cell had on Wednesday charged former councillors Tahir Hussain, Ishrat Jahan and activist Khalid Saifi among 15 others in the case. Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal are also named in the charge sheet, while Umar Khalid, who was arrested last week is yet to be charged.
The special cell is probing the alleged conspiracy behind the riots. Local police stations in north-east Delhi such as Seelampur, Jafrabad and the Delhi Police’s crime branch are also carrying out parallel investigations into the other riot cases.
In its charge sheet, the special cell has listed 747 witnesses, of which 51 have recorded their statements before a judge. Statements recorded before a judge is admissible evidence.
Charging the 15 accused of triggering the riots, police said that, on February 23, some anti-CAA protesters converged at pre-decided areas in north-east Delhi as per their plan and started blocking roads. Police said their intent was not to block roads but to ensure communal tension as the places had mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.
In the charge sheet, police have alleged that the sit-in protests started in “minority-dominated areas” but later moved to those with “mixed population” to create tension. Police have also said that the alleged conspirators had created at least 25 WhatsApp groups to mobilise the protests.