Delhi Riots: 17,500-page chargesheet filed against 15 accused, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam not listed
Delhi Police on Wednesday filed a 17,500-page long chargesheet against 15 accused of propagating violence during riots in the national capital in February this year. The charge sheet has been filed under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to the chargesheet, filed in the Karkardooma court in East Delhi, the key conspirators were guiding foot soldiers during the riots. As per the charge sheet, they were operating via 25 WhatsApp groups, specially created for each site of violence.
The police have attached WhatsApp chats from February 24, when the riots were underway.
The chargesheet is 17,500 pages long and contains evidence of how the violence was orchestrated in Delhi in the last week of February, the Delhi Police’s special cell told the court.
Apart from the WhatsApp chats, the chargesheet also contains technical evidence and other documents, the police said.
The police further informed the court that they have received permission to submit the chargesheet from both the Centre and Delhi government.
15 people named in Delhi Riots charge sheet are
Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal; Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha; former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan; Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider; suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain; and activist Khalid Saifi have been named in the charge sheet. Apart from these, the names of Mohammad Pervez Ahmed, Mohammad Illas, Shahdab Ahmad, Taslim Ahmad, Salim Malik, Mohammad Salim Khan and Athar Khan also appear in the charge sheet as key conspirators.
They all have been arrested under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA.
Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam not listed as accused
The chargesheet submitted by the police in the court on Wednesday lists 15 people as key conspirators. Student leaders Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam are not among them. The police have said that since they were arrested recently, their names will appear in the supplementary charge sheet.
“Based upon scientific, documentary and testimonial evidence, a total number of 15 accused have now been charge-sheeted out of the 21 persons arrested so far. The remaining six persons are expected to be charge-sheeted in due course after collecting sufficient evidence and completing statutory and procedural requirements,” the police said.
Further investigation into the matter is underway and supplementary charge sheets are likely to be filed in due course, the police told the court.
Meanwhile, the police have requested the court to take cognizance of the charge sheet and begin a trial against 15 accused named in the submitted charge sheet.
16,000 PCR calls and 751 cases
It may be recalled that the riots which broke out in parts of North East Delhi in February 2020 had claimed 53 deaths, 583 persons were injured and there were destruction and damage of both government as well as private properties on a huge scale. Claims amounting to more than Rs.20crore to compensate for loss of property have been filed before the GNCTD, which indicates the scale and immense cost of the tragedy.
In a statement released to the press, Delhi Police said that during the course of the riots, it received over 16,000 PCR calls and later registered a total of 751 cases in the matter. Of this, “59 cases were assigned to SIT constituted in the Crime Branch, 691 cases were investigated by the district police and one case which was registered on March 6, 2020, to investigate the larger conspiracy behind these riots was assigned to the Special Cell,” the police statement said.
Delhi Police said that during the investigation it has seized 12 pistols, 121 empty cartridges, 92 live cartridges, 61 glass bottles filled with noxious chemicals and an assortment of sharp-edged weapons.
The police said that it took the special cell 195 days to complete the first phase of the investigation.
During this period, 747 witnesses have been examined and approximately 75 electronic devices have been seized as part of the investigation, it said.
The communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.