A Delhi court has denied bail to eight accused in connection with the violence that broke out in Jahangirpuri during Hanuman Jayanti procession. In a crucial observation, the Court found that prima facie the case reflected that the local staff of the Jahangirpuri police station, led by inspector Rajiv Ranjan as well as other officials, were accompanying the allegedly illegal procession on its route, instead of stopping it.
The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh, while dismissing the bail application, noted that no ground was made out for grant of bail to the accused. The Court denied bail to Imteyaz, Noor Alam, Sheikh Hamid, Ahmad Ali, Sheikh Hamid, S.K. Sahahada, Sheikh Zakir and Ahir. The FIR was registered under IPC sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 ( Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 307 (Attempt to murder), 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) and sec. 27 (Punishment for using arms, etc) of the Arms Act.
Court’s observation and Order
The Sessions Court presided by Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh noted that the accused persons were identified on the basis of CCTV footage recorded on the day of incident and were also identified by eyewitnesses.
The Court found out from the prosecution’s argument, “The apprehension has been expressed by the prosecution that the public witness will not come forward as the rioters are known criminal of the area. Therefore, the apprehension of threatening/influencing the witness cannot be ruled at this stage, if the accused/applicant is enlarged on bail at this stage. The chargesheet is yet to be filed. The allegations are serious against the accused/applicant.”
The Court further considering the First Information Report (FIR) and the admissions made by the State, noted, “It is fairly admitted by on behalf of the State that the last procession which was passing through during which the unfortunate riots took place was illegal having no prior permission from police. If that was the situation, then the contents of the FIR itself, show that the local staff of police station Jahangir Puri, led by Inspector Rajiv Ranjan as well as other officials from DCP reserve were accompanying the said illegal procession on its route. It appears that local police instead of performing their duty in stopping the said illegal procession in the beginning itself and dispersing the crowd, was accompanying them to the entire route which later on led to unfortunate riots between the two communities.”
The Court further observed the riot was a result of the failure of police officials in preventing the riots and noted, “It reflects the utter failure on the part of local police in stopping the said procession having no permission. The issue seems to have been simply brushed aside by the senior officers. The liability on the part of the concerned officials needs to be fixed so that in future no such incident takes place and the police is not complacent in preventing the illegal activities.”
The Court directed that a copy of the Order be sent to the Commissioner of Police for information and remedial compliance.
The Order may be read here:
Brief background of the case
Communal clashes allegedly broke out during a procession in northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area on April 16. Violence broke out in the area when a religious procession of the majority community made its way past a mosque on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti.
Nine people, including eight police personnel, were injured during the violence. It is alleged that procession participants allegedly chanted abusive slogans, entered a mosque during namaz and tried to plant a saffron flag inside.
The violence was followed by an “anti-encroachment drive” in the area. The local civic body, which is run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the drive was launched to clear illegal constructions in the area. But Muslims say their properties were disproportionately targeted and they also questioned the timing of the drive, which continued for an hour after the Supreme Court gave an interim order to stop it.