In a chargesheet filed before the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Rohini, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police have confirmed that members of the Shobha Yatra passing through Jahangirpuri on Hanuman Jayanti were indeed armed. The incident took place on April 16.
Indian Express reports that the police have said that the Shobha Yatra members “carried firearms and other weapons”, however this was a “peaceful procession” until it was “confronted and attacked” by a gathering of Muslims.
Previous observations about police complicity by Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh
This is an interesting submission by the police, especially in wake of an observation by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh earlier in May this year 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 had noted then, “It is fairly admitted 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 had 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.”
Police’s latest submissions in the chargesheet
Meanwhile, IE further reports that the police say that the accused (attackers) were active on a Whatsapp group where they shared “hate speech messages against the other community/religion”, and that the group was called “Kabutar Sell Group”. The publication quoted excerpts from the chargesheet as describing content shared on the Kabutar Sell Group as being described by the police as “objectionable and provocative contents to spread hatred and motivate fanatic/ like-minded persons to prepare them to give effect to the conspiracy hatched by them.”
The chargesheet was filed on July 14, and on July 28, the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepika Singh took cognizance of it. The court has issued summons and production warrant against the accused. The next hearing has been listed on 6 August, 2022.
Police have named Tabrez Ansari as the main accused in the case. He allegedly worked closely with his associate Ishrafil, who is still absconding. According to the police they are “involved in political activities and are fanatically communal”.
It was Ishrafil who had organized a function nearby to commemorate the third day after the passing away of his father, and had invited people to partake in refreshments. IE quoted an excerpt from the chargesheet where the police refer to Tabrez and Ishrafil’s plan to avenge the killing of Muslims in the North East Delhi violence of February 2020: “As per the plan, both of them arranged extra fruits and eatables and started inviting local residents there in the teeza (tradition observed on the third day of death),” and that, “Tabrez and his associate recruited others to “take revenge for deaths of their community people during the Northeast Delhi riots”.
However, Advocate Rakesh Kaushik, who appears for six of the accused, has shot down all allegations and told the publication, “This is a false case. There are many defects in the police chargesheet which we will present before the court when the trial commences.”
According to The Quint, the chargesheet names 37 people who have been arrested and eight who are still absconding. Two juveniles have also been mentioned in the chargesheet.
Charges have been filed under Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Section 186 IPC (voluntarily obstructs any public servant in the discharge of his public functions), Section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) Section 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) Section 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) Section 147 (Punishment for rioting) Section 148 (Rioting, armed with a deadly weapon) Section 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object) and Section 427 (Mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and under various provisions of Arms Act.