The communal violence that broke out in April in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area was a continuation of the protests in Shaheen Bagh in 2019 and 2020 against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens along with the riots of February 2020, the Delhi Police alleged in a chargesheet filed on Thursday, The Indian Express reported.

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.

On Thursday, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police filed a 2,063-page chargesheet in a city court on the arrest of 37 accused persons. Eight more suspects are absconding, the police said.

The chargesheet mentioned the violence that erupted on Ram Navmi on April 10 in different parts of the country as a trigger for the clashes in Jahangirpuri.

According to the police, the violence in Jahangirpuri was not spontaneous but part of a “larger conspiracy”, the Hindustan Times reported.

Jahangirpuri violence and anti-CAA protests

The police also alleged that the main accused, Md Ansar and two of his associates, Tabrez Khan and Ishrafil, were members of WhatsApp groups that had been used to mobilise protestors during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act stir in 2019 and 2020.

“The men had discussions with locals in Jahangirpuri about the recent incidents against their community,” an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express. “We have recovered chats where the accused would influence others by saying ‘sab humare against hai, kuch karna hoga’ [Everyone is against us, we need to do something].”

The accused persons used to send locals to participate in anti-CAA protests, the police officer added.

Protests had erupted in several parts of North East Delhi in December 2019 and January 2020 against the Centre’s Citizenship Amendment Act, aimed to facilitate speedy granting of Indian citizenship to religious minorities – except Muslims – from neighbouring countries.

A police officer told the Hindustan Times that they have gathered evidence to show that “electronic material, digital chats and financial transactions” related to the Jahangirpuri violence are linked to the protests against the citizenship law.

Those arrested in the Jahangipuri case have been booked under 13 charges, including rioting, arson, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. The Crime Branch has seized nine firearms, five cartridges, two used bullet shells, nine swords and clothes of 11 accused persons that they were wearing during the violence, according to the Hindustan Times.