The Delhi high court on Tuesday pulled up the Delhi Police for failing to properly investigate the alleged assault of a 23-year-old Muslim man by police personnel, who also forced him to sing the national anthem and Vande Mataram as he lay injured, during the north-east Delhi riots in February 2020.
“This 66 paragraph status report is neither here nor there. It says nothing,” justice Mukta Gupta said, after reading the status report filed by police on Tuesday in a sealed cover.
She also remarked that there was “hardly anything” in the report that it cannot be shared with the victim’s mother, Kismatun, the petitioner in the case.
The judge’s remark came after the police counsel, special public prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad, said the status report cannot be shared with the mother as it contained details of the (accused) persons involved.
Justice Gupta also raised questions about the additional injuries suffered by Faizan, after he was detained at the Jyoti Nagar police station the day after the assault. While the MLC (medical report) recorded only three injuries, their number increased to 20 in the post-mortem report.
To that, Prasad replied that the position of the deceased will have to be seen from the video footage to ascertain whether the post-mortem report contained the true picture or not.
The court was hearing a plea by Kismatun, who had sought a probe by a special investigation team into her son’s death. In her plea, filed through advocate Soutik Banerjee, Kismatun said the police had illegally detained her son on February 25 and denied him critical care, resulting in him succumbing to injuries on February 26.
She said her son and four others were mercilessly beaten by the police on February 24, as was evident from a video that was widely shared on social media.
On the last date (January 11), the court was told by the police that they had identified one personnel who “could have committed the crime”. Justice Gupta then asked the police to file a status report and posted the matter to February 22.
On Tuesday, Gupta sought to know from the police whether the statements of survivors, who are seen in the same video being assaulted along with Faizan, have been recorded. She also asked whether they have identified the police personnel involved.
“These were five children who were assaulted. One has died and four are still surviving. Have you got it (attackers) identified from them? In any case, the police start the investigation from an eyewitness. In this case, you will not take the help of the eyewitness, but will investigate all over the world,” the judge said.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Vrinda Grover told the court that Faizan had received injuries at the Jyoti Nagar police station as well, where he was kept without treatment after the assault. She said the police did not even probe that aspect.
The judge fixed a date for the petitioner’s counsel to peruse the police’s status report and posted the matter for further hearing to March 15.