A court in Delhi has directed the police to file a first information report and conduct a “fair, independent and impartial” investigation into a case related to the February communal violence, The Indian Express reported on Monday. The police had closed the case even as the complainant submitted videographic evidence against the accused.
The order was passed by Metropolitan Magistrate Fahad Uddin on November 23. In his complaint, Mohammad Saleem, a resident of Yamuna Vihar, had said that his neighbours Subash Tyagi and Ashok Tyagi had attacked his house on February 24. The Tyagis opened fire and a person identified as Naseer Khan was also shot dead in the incident.
Scroll.in had reported earlier that Saleem had identified 16 men who he alleged were part of the mob that had carried out a “murderous attack” on his home. “They fired at my home…bullet marks still adorn the walls of my home,” his complaint stated. “They also hurled petrol bombs, which we fortunately doused with water just in time.”
In his complaint, Saleem referred to Khan. “As they rained bullets, one of them hit Naseer, who was standing on the road,” he wrote. In the videos, which Scroll.in has reviewed, men armed with rods can be seen hurling verbal abuses and threats, with gunshots heard in the background.
However, the police told the court that Saleem filed a “false complaint to save himself” as he was involved in the violence and was arrested on March 19. Saleem is out on bail in the case.
The judge rejected the police’s claim that “no cognisable offence was found to be made out” and said the allegations need to be investigated. The court also indicated that the electronic evidence was admissible.
“This court deems fit to direct the SHO [station house officer] of Jafrabad to register an FIR at the earliest under appropriate sections of the law on basis of allegations made in the complaint to ensure a fair, independent and impartial investigation...,” the order said.
The judge ordered that the final report should be filed without delay and asked the deputy commissioner of police, North East, to monitor the inquiry.
“The allegations are serious in nature and pertain to the protection of the right to life and property of the complainant,” the judge said. “The equal protection of law cannot be denied to the complainant merely on account of registration of certain FIRs against him...and on the assumption that the IO [investigation officer] that the complaint is false and made to save the complainant and that too without registering the FIR and conducting an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations.”
Moreover, the court noted that the complainant sought police protection when the incident occured, but no security personnel arrived at the area.
Delhi violence and the police investigation
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and February 26 in North East Delhi, claiming 53 lives and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.
In September, a case of rioting was registered at the Khajuri Khas Police Station in which 15 people, including suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain, were arrested. All the 15 have been accused under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act. The 17,000-page chargesheet was filed at Karkardooma court.
The Delhi Police claim the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Act. They also claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.