Court takes cognisance against 15 Delhi riots accused

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) : A Delhi court on Thursday took cognisance of the charge sheet filed against 15 persons under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the riots in northeast Delhi in February.

On Wednesday, Special Cell of Delhi Police had filed a voluminous charge sheet against the accused under various sections of UAPA, Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

All the accused were produced before Karkardooma court today. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat took cognisance of all the offences, except for some sections for which sanction are required.

“I have taken the cognisance of the offences mentioned in the charge sheet, except for some offences for which sanction is still awaited under section 196 CrPC,” the judge said.

The charge sheet names Tahir Hussain, Safoora Zargar, Gulfisha Khatoon, Devangana Kalita, Shafa-ur-Rehman, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal, Abdul Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan, Meeran Haidar, Shadab Ahamd, Talsim Ahmad, Saleem Malik, Mohammed Salim Khan and Athar Khan.

Tahir Hussain has been named as a main accused in the charge sheet. The charge sheet, however, does not name Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Mohammed Pervez Ahmad, Mohammed Ilyas, Danish and Faizal Khan. Their names will be added in the supplementary charge sheet.

The voluminous charge sheet was filed in little less than 200 days of filing an FIR to investigate the “conspiracy” angle behind the riots that rocked northeast Delhi in February this year. Clashes between the citizenship law supporters and protesters had spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

It has 51 statements which have been recorded under section 164 CrPC making it admissible as an evidence against the accused. Besides this, the police relied on 747 witness, call data records and WhatsApp groups that were active during the anti-CAA protests.

The court granted bail to Natasha Narwal in another case related to the Delhi riots.

The police have mentioned the WhatsApp chats of February 24 as evidence in the charge sheet. “That was the time when riots were happening. At that point, the key conspirators were guiding the foot soldiers about violence in the area. They were directly in touch with foot soldiers,” the police informed the court.

The police added that the conspirators used a WhatsApp group, which is now closed, for violence in the Seelampur and Jafrabad areas. Multiple WhatsApp groups were especially created for each site.

The impression was given out that they were an anti-CAA protest group, but through these, conspirators were guided, added the Delhi Police.

The police also concluded that the riots and protests were funded by several groups, including the PFI.

They told the court that it took weeks of planning to stock weapons, stones, arms and ammunition such as Molotov cocktails on terraces to be used in the riots, thereby indicating a premeditated conspiracy.