A court in Delhi on Tuesday delivered its first judgement in connection with the large-scale communal violence that took place in the Capital last year, Live Law reported. The court acquitted a man accused of rioting and looting
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi in 2020, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
Suresh, the man acquitted by the court on Tuesday, was part of a mob that allegedly attacked and looted a shop situated on Babarpur Road, according to Live Law. The shop’s tenant, Asif, alleged that on February 25, the crowd came armed with iron rods and sticks and looted the store. Bhagat Singh, the owner of the shop, corroborated the tenant’s allegations.
Singh had told the police that the “rioters were aggressive and wanted to loot the said shop because it was of a Muslim and he tried to stop them but in vain”, according to PTI.
Based on Asif’s complaint, a first information report was filed against the accused.
On March 9, the court had framed charges in the incident under Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 147 (punishment for rioting), 143 (punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), according to The Indian Express.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Amitabh Rawat, additional sessions judge at Karkardooma court, said that the statements of witnesses in the case were completely contradictory. “Accused is acquitted of all the charges against him,” he said, according to Live Law. “Its a clear cut case of acquittal.”
Delhi violence investigation
The Delhi Police claimed that the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Amendment Act. They also claimed that the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government.
The police filed a main chargesheet in September and a supplementary one in November.
As many as 755 FIRs were registered and 1,829 people arrested in connection with the violence in northeast Delhi last year, the Centre had informed Parliament in March.
The police had arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges. Last month, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha in a case related to the violence. All three of them were released from jail since they had already received bail in other cases related to the clashes.