The Delhi Police on Tuesday confirmed that they had rescued suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain from his home in North East Delhi on February 24, when the region was hit by violence due to communal clashes between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Act.
Additional Commissioner of Police Ajit Kumar Singla confirmed this to media personnel on Tuesday. “On February 24, around 11 pm to midnight, some people told us that a councillor is stuck and feeling insecure. He was then rescued,” Singla said.
However, about an hour later, news agency ANI put out a clarification, citing Delhi Police officials, that Hussain “did not require rescuing” that night. “News of the councillor being stuck was received by police, upon investigation, it was found the councillor was safe in his house,” ANI cited unidentified officials as saying.
On February 26, the police registered a FIR against the councillor from Nehru Vihar for allegedly being involved in the killing of Intelligence Bureau staffer Ankit Sharma. Hussain has been charged with murder, rioting and arson.
The FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint by Sharma’s father who accused Hussain of being behind his son’s murder. Sharma’s body was recovered from a drain near his home in Khajuri Khas in North East Delhi on February 26. According to the FIR, Sharma’s body had several stab injuries and it states that an attempt was made to make him unidentifiable as several parts of his body were burnt.
The FIR followed multiple videos that emerged online showing people on the roof of a building hurling stones and petrol bombs towards the street below. The building, barely a few metres from where Sharma’s body was recovered, belongs to Hussain and residents said it functioned as his office. In one of those videos, the councillor can be purportedly seen carrying a stick at one point.
However, Hussain released a video the next day, claiming he was innocent. He called the news about his involvement in the crime “false and politically motivated”. He said that a mob had broken the gate of his office on February 24 and climbed onto the building’s roof to carry out the attacks. He claimed to have left the building on February 24 and returned the next morning around 8.30 am but was greeted with sloganeering and a hostile atmosphere. Soon after the FIR was filed, the Aam Aadmi Party, after initially defending Hussain, suspended him.
The violence last week claimed 47 lives and injured over 200 people. It had started with clashes between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those who opposed it. The law makes undocumented, non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. Critics fear that together with a proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens, the new law could used as a tool to harass Indian Muslims.