A local court on Monday refused to give bail to 15 people accused in connection with last Friday’s violence in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj area, Live Law reported. The accused were sent to judicial custody for two weeks, according to PTI.
Tis Hazari Metropolitan Magistrate Kapil Kumar dismissed the bail applications saying the allegations were serious and investigation was still under way. “Such kind of incidents create panic in society,” the court said, adding that “violence for any reason is not justified”.
Defence counsel Rebecca M John argued that the police had not been able to show how they had identified those arrested. She noted that the complaint mentioned there was a “raging crowd”, and accused the police of selectively arresting people.
The court asked police whether they had used CCTV footage to identify the accused, to which the public prosecutor said they were arrested as they were aggressive and at the forefront during stone-pelting.
The investigating officer said a car that was burnt was not a government vehicle, and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act was invoked as police barricades were destroyed. No police official was admitted to the hospital, the officer told the court, adding that stones were pelted at the deputy commissioner of police’s office. The court was told that 17 policemen were injured in the violence, The Hindu reported.
The accused have been charged with offences under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy), 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) of the Indian Penal Code, and provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
After afternoon prayers on Friday, a huge crowd had gathered in front of Jama Masjid to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who had been denied permission to protest, was spotted holding up a copy of the Constitution with a photo of BR Ambedkar on it. The Dalit leader was detained by the police, but escaped from their custody and returned to the protest venue. Later that night, Azad surrendered and was sent to jail for 14 days on Saturday.
Hours after Azad led the massive rally at Jama Masjid, protestors carrying Indian flags and “Save the Constitution” banners started marching from the mosque to Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi. They were stopped at Delhi Gate. However, the crowd refused to back down, and a car was set on fire outside Daryaganj police station as a confrontation became imminent. Policemen then used water cannons and to disperse the crowd, and assaulted them with batons.
Many people, including minors, were injured in the demonstrations. Eight minors were detained at the Daryaganj police station. However, they were later released. Police officials said 40 people had been detained in connection with the protests at Daryaganj.
In recent weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country to oppose the amendments to the Citizenship Act, which grants citizenship to people from six persecuted religious communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – except Muslims – provided they have lived in India for six years, and entered India on or before December 31, 2014.