A Delhi court has framed charges against six persons for allegedly burning a Muslim man alive during the February 2020 violence in the city, PTI reported on Sunday.
Communal violence had broken out in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020, as supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law clashed. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.
In one of the incidents, a mob had burned alive a Muslim man named Shahbaz on February 25, 2020 on the Main Khajuri Pusta Road in the city.
On July 8, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala framed charges against Aman, Vikram, Rahul Sharma, Ravi Sharma, Dinesh Sharma and Ranjeet Rana for allegedly being part of the mob that killed Shahbaz.
The court said that the accused persons allegedly committed the act in a planned manner and in conspiracy with each other, The Hindu reported. The mob’s sole aim was “taking revenge from Muslim community”, the judge observed.
The court said that a witness statement showed that the accused persons were part of a mob that had gathered on February 24, 2020 – a day prior to the killing – and had planned to engage in riots on the next day.
“Accused persons joined this mob being aware of the planning,” Judge Pramachala said. “They had also done so by being an active member of an unlawful assembly having its common object of causing harm and damage to the person and property of Muslim community, violating the provisions of Section 144 CrPC, promoting enmity...causing the killing of the present victim, i.e., deceased Shahbaz.”
The court charged the accused men under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 302 (murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 395 (dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code.
One of the accused persons, Aman, has also been charged under Section 412 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity. He allegedly kept Shahbaz’s wristwatch with him after his death, according to The Hindu.
Shahbaz’s family had told the police that he had gone out to buy medicines for his eyes when he got stuck in the riots. After his relatives began searching for him, a person named Ankit told them that Shahbaz had been burnt alive.
The police could only find a piece of Shahbaz’s skull and some pelvic bones. His identity was ascertained after his DNA was matched with that of his father.