The Delhi High Court has refused to quash an order of Delhi’s special commissioner of police that cited “resentment among the Hindu community” to advise police personnel to exercise caution while making arrests in connection with the February violence, Live Law reported on Saturday. The court said that “no prejudice has been caused” by the order, as it was issued after the accused had been chargesheeted.
The court was considering a writ petition filed by Sahil Parvez and Mohammad Saeed Salman, whose father and mother were killed in the violence.
In its ruling, the court said that cases related to the violence were registered before Special Commissioner of Police Praveer Ranjan issued the controversial letter on July 8. It also noted that till date, 535 Hindus and 513 Muslims have been chargesheeted in all the cases.
The single bench of Justice Suresh Kait also said that media reports were “contrary to the spirit of the letter”. “Therefore, it is suggested that media being the fourth pillar of democracy, news should be clear after verifying the facts so that no prejudice is caused to anyone or hatred is spread among communities in this country,” Kait said.
The petitioners had sought to quash the order on the grounds that it reflects bias on the part of the police force. They argued that the order amounts to “unlawful and illegal interference in the performance of investigative functions by police officers”.
The court’s verdict appears to be a reversal of its July 31 observation that the order on “Hindu resentment” is “mischievous”. The court at the time had asked Ranjan to explain the need to issue it. Kait also inquired if the Delhi Police issued “such orders” in other cases as well.
Delhi court grants accused bail
In another case, a local court in Delhi on Friday granted bail to a man accused of violence during the clashes, on condition that “he shall maintain peace and harmony in his locality,” ANI reported. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav gave Mohammad Mobin Ali bail, asking him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and a surety of like amount. Ali had been in judicial custody since April 20, after being arrested on the complaint of an injured man.
The court ordered Ali not to tamper with the evidence or attempt to influence witnesses. It also directed that he appear for interrogation whenever asked to do so. The court also directed him to install “Aarogya Setu App” in his mobile phone, for which the reasons are not known.
“From the very perusal of the CCTV footage, it is clearly apparent that the applicant does not appear to be part of riotous mob,” the court noted. “As per the arguments advanced at bar by the learned counsel for the applicant, he was returning from Masjid after offering namaaz.” The court said that Ali’s case was different from those of his co-accused, Mohammad Javed Khan and Mohammad Anas.
The violence and investigation
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the new citizenship law and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
In multiple chargesheets filed last month, the police had claimed the violence in Delhi was a result of a conspiracy to defame the Narendra Modi-led government. They alleged that people who had organised protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were the conspirators. However, the police have failed to produce video evidence so far.