The chargesheet filed by the police in a case related to the murder of Head Constable Rattan Lal during the violence in North East Delhi in February includes a witness statement alleging that he had heard people at a protest site shout that a pandal had been set on fire by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra’s people, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

On February 23, Mishra held a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act about 2 km from Jafrabad area. He had also given the Delhi Police a three-day ultimatum to clear the protests. A day later, communal violence erupted in parts of North East Delhi, and continuing for days, leaving at least 53 people dead and hundreds injured. was unable to determine if Mishra’s incendiary speech is mentioned in other chargesheets related to the violence.

The witness, identified as Najam ul Hasan, was present at the protest site on February 24 but “did not see” the alleged incident, according to the statement. Hasan has been named among “important witnesses” who were “fully aware about the conspiracy and planning” of the protests at Chand Bagh. The police have listed 164 witnesses in the chargesheet, including 76 police personnel and seven local residents.

“The stage was set on fire by some of Kapil Mishra’s people,” Hasan’s statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure said. “I did not see it happening, but people were shouting about it.”

Hasan added that he left for his home “when the chaos increased” in the area, but returned later to hear people shout about the alleged pandal incident.

Mishra has not responded to the allegations yet. In February, the Delhi High Court had questioned the police over their inaction against him and the two other BJP leaders for their hate speech.

Meanwhile, the police analysis of the witness statements recorded in the chargesheet said: “Continuous misinformation about CAA and NRC was being spread from the protest site in which several students of DU and Jamia were also involved. Illegal march was taken out on February 23, which was stopped by police and later in the night the conspirators held a meeting in which strategy for February 24 was decided.”

It further said that the violence was not impromptu but planned. “The organisers and protesters chose the date and time for the march and road blockage, that is, February 23 to 24 for riots, keeping in view the [visit] of Donald Trump, president of USA, to gain the maximum impact,” the chargesheet said.

Hasan’s statement also names Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav and advocate DS Bindra. It referred to an alleged meeting before the protest and said: “Bindra started the conversation and asked us to organise a protest against NRC and CAA. He told us that he will organise a langar and a medical camp, and the Sikh community is with us. He told us that if we don’t wake up now, we will meet the same fate as Sikhs in 1984.”

However, Yadav said that everything he said was in the public domain. “Please point out one instance where I have directly or indirectly incited violence of any kind,” he told The Indian Express. Bindra said he has been organising the langar for five years, and questioned how it is related to the violence.

The chargesheet in the case has been filed based on statements of witnesses, video evidence collected from varied sources, including CCTV cameras and other technical evidence, including call detail records.

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