'Complete lack of supervision by senior officers': Delhi court raps police's handling of Delhi riots' investigation
Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on 24 February, 2020, after clashes between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and protesters spiralled out of control
A Delhi court slammed the Delhi Police for its handling of investigations pertaining to the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots cases, saying it has noticed a "complete lack of supervision of the investigations by the senior police officers".
According to media reports, judge Vinod Yadav of the Karkardooma District Court said, "The investigating agency has evidently been found to be on the wrong side of law."
"This court has found in several cases of riots in the entire length and breadth of police stations in North-East Delhi that there was complete lack of supervision of the investigation(s) by the senior police officers of the district. All is not over yet. If the senior officers now look into the matter(s) and take remedial measures required in the matter(s), so that justice could be given to the victims,” the judge noted.
The court was hearing a revision petition filed by the police against an order of the Metropolitan Magistrate directing authorities to lodge separate FIRs on the complaint made by the respondent Nishar Ahmed.
"In a number of cases of riots in North-East Delhi; wherein, several complaints pertaining to a particular area have been clubbed with a single FIR. It has been noticed by this court that in several cases, as many as twenty five (25) complaints have been clubbed with a single FIR having different dates of incidents, different complainants, different witnesses and different set of accused persons," the court noted.
According to The Indian Express, judge Yadav said the practice of clubbing several FIRs into one has been used to “protect the accused”.
The petitioner Ahmad had filed a complaint with SHO Gokulpuri on 25 February, 2020, about a mob from a particular community vadalising and looting his home. Ahmad claimed that the police took down a very small complaint only in connection with the theft, as per the report.
Ahmad’s complaint was clubbed with a complaint from one Aas Mohammad in which no accused was named. Following arguments by Ahmad’s lawyer, MR Shamshad, a Metropolitan Magistrate on 19 November, 2020, ordered the police to register a separate FIR in this case, as per the report.
The police had challenged this decision in the Karkardooma District Courts today.
Dismissing the police's petition, the judge said, “I do not find even semblance of investigation with regard to the criminal conspiracy hatched by the persons named in complaint dated 18.03.2020, by either the local police who investigated the matters under consideration as well as by Special Cell, which investigated the case of larger conspiracy.”
“Even the offence of criminal conspiracy has not been invoked in any of the cases where either the respondent is complainant or witness. There is clear diversions of action/investigation by the police in the cases under consideration," the judge further added, as per Indian Express.
Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on 24 February, 2020, after clashes between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 dead and around 200 injured.
In November 2020, the Delhi Police filed a supplementary chargesheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam in a case related to the alleged larger conspiracy in the communal violence.
The main chargesheet was filed in September 2020 against Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha and student activist Gulfisha Fatima.
Others who were charge-sheeted included former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Shifa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain, activist Khalid Saifi, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Salim Malik, Mohd Salim Khan and Athar Khan.
On 15 April, a Delhi court granted Khalid bail in a case relating to the violence in northeast Delhi, saying that he cannot be incarcerated in jail for infinity.
Khalid, however, remains in jail as he is accused in some other cases including one related to the criminal conspiracy lodged under stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
With inputs from PTI
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