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2020 Delhi riots ‘reminiscent of carnage during days of partition’, says court

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi in
Image Source : PTI

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi in February last year

A court here has called the 2020 Delhi riots the ‘reminiscent of carnage during the days of partition’, while rejecting the anticipatory bail petition of a man accused of attacking a boy during the widespread violence, merely because he belonged to a different community. Fearing arrest, Siraj Ahmad Khan had moved the court to seek anticipatory bail in the matter, claiming that he was being falsely implicated and had nothing to do with the alleged offence.

Dismissing his pre-arrest bail plea, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted that the allegations against him were “grave in nature” and that his presence was necessary to unearth the conspiracy involved in planning, instigating and fanning the flames of communal conflagration. Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi in February last year after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

“It is common knowledge that the dreary day(s) of February 24/25, 2020 saw parts of North-East Delhi gripped by a communal frenzy, reminiscent of carnage during the days of partition,” the judge remarked, in his April 29 order. “Soon, the riots spread like wildfire across the smoke-grey skyline of Capital, engulfing new areas and snuffing out more and more innocent lives,” he added.

In the present matter, a young boy namely Raman was brutally attacked by the riotous mob on February 25 merely on the ground that he belonged to a different community, the judge said. “From the reply filed by investigating officer in the matter, it is clearly apparent that applicant is clearly seen/visible in the CCTV footage dated February 25, 2020 carrying a spear (bhaala) in his hands and his two sons namely Arman and Aman, who are also accused in the instant matter are still absconding,” the judge said.

Siraj Ahmad Khan has been absconding in the matter right from the day his role cropped up in the matter and was declared proclaimed offender by the district court in December, last year. The court further noted that the factum that various co-accused have been enlarged on bail by the court will not water down the conduct of applicant which he displayed in the matter by absconding right from the day when his name cropped up in the matter.

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case in totality and the conduct exhibited by applicant during the course of investigation, I do not find it to be a fit case for grant of anticipatory bail to the applicant,” the judge said.

During the course of hearing, Advocate Shadab Khan, representing Siraj, told the court that the accused had been falsely implicated in the case merely on the basis of disclosure statements of co-accused persons, no specific role has been assigned to him and has nothing to do with the alleged offence.

He argued that the officials of New Usmanpur Police Station had been threatening his family members to arrest him in the matter and visited his house several times, that too in odd hours.

The counsel said that investigation in the matter was complete and the charge sheet had been filed. He told the court that Siraj would not abscond or tamper with the prosecution witnesses and was ready to join further investigation in the matter as and when called.

Opposing the anticipatory bail, Special Public Prosecutor Saleem Ahmed apprised the court that complainant Raman was brutally attacked with “swords and dandas” by the riotous mob consisting of about 15-20 hooligans on February 25, as a result of which he sustained severe injuries on his head, back and feet.

“The common object of the accused persons was to cause maximum damage to the persons and property(ies) of other community,” he told the court, asking it to reject the anticipatory bail petition.

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