The Delhi Police have said that a group of men killed nine Muslims after they refused to chant “Jai Shri Ram” during the large-scale communal violence that broke out in the North East district of the Capital in February, PTI reported on Friday. The accused used a WhatsApp group to coordinate their activities and offer manpower or ammunition when required.

The WhatsApp group – Kattar Hindu Ekta – was created on February 25 at 12.49 pm “to take revenge on Muslims,” the police said in a chargesheet. The members bragged about “killing Muslims” and “dumping their bodies in the sewer”, according to The Indian Express. Initially the group had about 125 members. By March 8, a total of 47 members had exited the group, as per the chargesheet. The police plan to use the WhatsApp conversations as “extrajudicial confessions”.

The chargesheets were filed before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Kumar Gautam on June 29 for the alleged murder of nine people – Hamza, Aamin, Bhure Ali, Mursalin, Aas Mohd, Musharraf, Akil Ahmed, and Hashim Ali and his elder brother Aamir Khan.

Investigation revealed that the accused bludgeoned nine Muslims to death in the Ganga Vihar-Bhagirathi Vihar area between the morning of February 25 and February 26 midnight. Several people were also injured during these assaults in the Bhagirathi Vihar locality.

The armed men stopped whoever they came across, asked them their name, address, ID proof and told them to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, said the police. Anyone who refused, or was found to be a Muslim, was brutally assaulted and thrown into a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar.

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“They [the accused] resolved to kill Muslims, whoever they came across,” one of the chargesheets stated. However, the chargesheets deal specifically with the murders of Aamin, Bhure Ali and Hamza.

Aamin was killed and thrown in a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar’s C-block around 9.30 pm on February 25, when he was coming from Brijpuri Puliya on foot. On February 26, around 10.30 am, Bhure Ali was killed and thrown at the same spot as Aamin. Hamza was murdered on February 26 around 9.15 pm, and thrown in a drain in E-block, while coming from Mustafabad.

“During investigation, it has been established that all the arrested accused persons along with other identified and yet to be identified accused persons were members of an unlawful armed mob, who, with a common object to take revenge of the death of Hindus during riots and to teach Muslims a lesson, had bludgeoned/stabbed many innocent persons, including Aamin, to death for no fault of theirs,” the chargesheet in his murder stated. Identical statements have been recorded by police in the other two cases.

Lokesh Solanki, who is identified as the key accused, had deleted all messages and left this group. However, the police had also seized the mobile phone of one Deepak Singh. The police said they had retrieved messages sent by Solanki in which he admitted to have killed two Muslim men and of throwing them in a drain on February 25.

The first message, at 11.39 pm was: “Bhai, I am Lokesh Solanki from Ganga Vihar. If there is any problem or a shortage of people, let me know. I will come with the entire Ganga Vihar team. We have everything necessary — bullets, guns, everything.” At 11.44 pm, he allegedly posted: “Around 9 pm, near B Vihar, your brother has killed two Muslims and thrown them into the drain along with my team. Vinay, you know that your brother is always in the front in accomplishing this kind of a job.”

The court has put up the matter for consideration on July 13.