A court in Delhi on Thursday framed rioting and murder charges against former Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain, his brother Shah Alam and five others in a case related to the February 2020 riots in the national capital, Live Law reported.

Communal clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23, 2020, and 26, 2020, in North East Delhi. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.

Apart from Hussain and Alam, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala on Thursday framed charges against the accused identified as Tanveer Malik, Gulfam, Nazim, and Kasim.

“From the statements of various witnesses, it was reflected that all accused were part of the mob that continuously indulged in the firing of gunshots, pelting of stones, and petrol bombs towards Hindus and houses of Hindus,” the court said, according to PTI. “These acts of the mob make it clear that their objective was to harm Hindus in their body and property to the maximum possible extent.”

The judge made the observations while hearing a case registered by a man named Ajay Jha, who was allegedly shot at by a mob near Chand Bagh on February 25, 2020.

He framed charges against all of them under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 302 (murder), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

Additional charges under the Arms Act have been invoked against Malik and Gulfam.

The court said that witnesses made it clear that indiscriminate firing by the mob injured several persons, including the complainant.

“All accused are liable to be tried for hatching a criminal conspiracy to indulge in riot and kill Hindus and harm the properties of Hindus and consequent to such conspiracy firing and causing gunshot injury to Ajay Jha,” the judge said.

Jha had alleged that Hussain, his brother and other accused were targeting Hindu homes by throwing stones and petrol bombs. The mob, he further claimed, shouted religious slogans and occasionally fired weapons.

The judge on Thursday said planning to ignite a communal riot and initiating measures to commit the crime could be an “umbrella conspiracy”. He added that those part of it may or may not be involved in each of the other conspiracies.

“Therefore, FIR 59/20 as referred herein above is to be treated to cover the aspect of umbrella conspiracy,” the court said. “The allegations and evidence in this case have to be assessed to find out existence of smaller conspiracy peculiar to incident covered in this case.”