Delhi court frames charges against 6 accused in 2020 riots case


A Delhi court on Saturday framed charges against six accused persons in relation to a case registered during the 2020 Northeast Delhi Riots.

At least 53 people were killed and 400 injured in the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots. (Representative Image)

Additional sessions judge Pulastya Pramachala in his order said, “I find accused persons namely 1. Mohd. Mukarram, 2. Nasir @ Arbaj, 3. Mohd. Naim, 4. Aman Abbas, 5. Gullu @Arshad Zaidi and 6. Shoaib, liable to be tried for offences punishable u/s. 147/148/307 IPC read with Section 149 IPC. I also find accused Nasir @ Arbaj liable to be tried for offence punishable under Section 27 Arms Act, for using fire arms during aforesaid incident.”

A case was registered on the basis of a PCR call received regarding assembly of persons from Muslim community and indulging in acts of vandalism. When Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Karan, who was assigned the call, visited the place and attempted to contact the PCR caller. The caller expressed his inability to come before police but informed about the assembly of riotous mob, who were equipped with weapon and also firing.

During the course of investigation, when police recorded the statements of the witnesses, various witnesses stated that on the intervening night of February 24 and 25, a number of persons had assembled and were raising slogans and were equipped with weapons. It was also stated by the witnesses that the mob also vandalised the temple nearby. Police arrested all the accused based on the statements given by the public witnesses in the case and by identifying the accused persons through the CCTV clips and other video clips provided by the people with the help of the citizens of the area. After the investigation in the case was completed, a chargesheet was filed against the accused persons.

During the hearing it was argued before the court on behalf of the accused that on the day of the incident there were two mobs and two first information reports (FIRs) were filed and the persons accused in the other mob had been made the witness in this case. It was further added that the accused acted in order to safeguard their property against the other mob which was the aggressor mob. It was also argued that the other mob contained people from other places and their testimonies cannot be relied upon.

On the other hand, it was argued by the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) that there are evidence against all the accused to show that they were part of the mob, referring to the video clips and the testimonies of the witnesses.

After going through the arguments advanced by both the parties, the court observed, “As far as arguments of defence that accused persons acted to safeguard their properties against mob of Hindus is concerned, it will be a matter of trial to assess such plea, because this is a plea taken in defence which requires to be established during trial. Just because the witnesses in this case are accused in other FIR, their testimony is not to be rejected altogether. If it was a case of attack by two rival mobs on each other, the members of each mob have to face consequences of the action of the respective mob.”

The court also noted, “On the basis of evidence and materials placed on the record, I find prima facie case against all the accused persons for being part of an unlawful assembly with common object to attack upon Hindus, temple and to kill the Hindus and acting accordingly, they attacked upon the gathering of Hindus, thereby pelting stones and firing gun shot on them resulting into gun shot injuries…”

The court thus registered a case against the accused persons charging them under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Court also imposed Section 27 (punishment for using arms) of the Arms Act on one accused Nasir for using firearm during the incident.

In February 2020, a clash between groups supporting and opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in north-east Delhi’s Jafrabad snowballed into a full blown riot with violence spreading to several localities in the district in which at least 53 people were killed and 400 injured.

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