A Delhi court has observed that there was “utter failure” on part of the police in stopping the Hanuman Jayanti procession that was carried out without permission and had led to violence in the Jahangirpuri area on April 16, Live Law reported on Sunday.
Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh said that personnel of the Delhi Police had accompanied the illegal procession and that their complicity, if any, should be investigated.
The court made the observation while dismissing the bail plea of eight accused persons – Imteyaz, Noor Alam, Sheikh Hamid, Ahmad Ali, Sheikh Hamid, SK Sahahada, Sheikh Zahir and Ahir – who have been arrested in connection with the violence.
On April 16, three processions were organised by the Bajrang Dal to commemorate the Hindu festival of Hanuman Jayanti in Jahangirpuri. Residents said that participants in the processions were armed with swords and tridents, while videos also showed some of them wielding guns and shouting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans.
Violence broke out as the third procession passed a mosque. The police said Hindu and Muslim groups threw stones at each other. At least 36 persons, including three juveniles, have been arrested for the violence, according to The Hindu.
Three days after the communal clashes in Jahangirpuri, the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation razed the entrance gate of a local mosque and several shops, homes and other structures in the neighbourhood, mostly belonging to Muslims.
Out of those arrested, five persons – Ansar, Sonu alias Imam Sheikh, Salim, Ahir and Dilshad – have been charged under the stringent National Security Act. The act allows the police to detain a person for 12 months without trial.
At a hearing, the court said the fact that the procession had no prior permission from the police was admitted on behalf of the authorities and is being brushed aside by 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 said in its order, according to Live Law.
Justice Singh said that the first information report filed by the police shows that the staff of the Jahangirpuri police station, led by inspector Rajiv Ranjan as well as other officials, were accompanying the said illegal procession on its route “instead of stopping it”, The Indian Express reported.
“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 said.
Meanwhile, on the bail plea of the eight accused in the case, the court said that the investigation is still underway and several offenders are yet to be apprehended, according to The Indian Express reported.
While denying them bail, the court noted that the accused persons were identified on the basis of the CCTV footage recorded on the day of the violence. It also acknowledged the prosecution’s argument that the accused were well-known criminals of the area and if granted bail, could influence witnesses in the case.