A court in Delhi on Monday said that the violence that broke out in the national Capital in February 2020 was “reminiscent of carnage during the days of Partition”, reported PTI.

The observation was made as the court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of a man, Siraj Ahmad Khan, accused of attacking a boy, identified as Raman, during the riots.

“It is common knowledge that the dreary day(s) of 24/25.02.2020 saw parts of North-East Delhi gripped by a communal frenzy, reminiscent of carnage during the days of Partition,” Additional Sessions Court Judge Vinod Yadav said, according to Live Law. “Soon, the riots spread like wildfire across the smoke-grey skyline of Capital, engulfing new areas and snuffing out more and more innocent lives.”

The prosecution alleged that a mob of close to 20 people brutally attacked the complainant with “swords and dandas [sticks]” on February 25. The boy had sustained severe injuries on the head, back and feet.

Special Public Prosecutor Saleem Ahmed submitted that a “web of conspirators” had been identified and arrested, alleging that the violence was a conspiracy with the aim of stoking communal strife.

The accused, however, said that he was being falsely implicated in the case and that no specific role had been assigned to him for the offences that he allegedly committed.

The counsel of the accused also told the court that the “official(s) of PS [police station] New Usmanpur have been threatening his family members to arrest him in the matter and in this regard they have visited his house several times, that too in odd hours”, reported The Indian Express.

Following the submissions, the court said that it was “prima facie apparent” that the investigating agency called Khan several times to join the inquiry, but he was evading the summons.

“The allegations against the applicant are grave in nature,” the court said, according to Live Law. “The presence/appearance of applicant is very much necessary to unearth the conspiracy involved in planning, instigating and fanning the flames of communal conflagration. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case in totality and the conduct exhibited by applicant during the course of investigation...”

Delhi violence

Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 last year in North East Delhi, killing at least 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 in Delhi since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

The Delhi Police claimed that 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 Amendment Act. They also claimed that 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.

The police filed a main chargesheet in September and a supplementary one in November.

As many as 755 FIRs were registered and 1,829 people arrested in connection with the violence in northeast Delhi last year, the Centre had informed Parliament in March.

On April 26, a local court in Delhi rebuked the police for the way it had conducted the investigation in the case. The Karkardooma district court noted a “complete lack of supervision of the investigation by the senior police officers” in the cases.