Delhi High Court poser on beaten youth who died
Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to police seeking a status report on the investigation into the death of a youth who was seen in widely circulated video clips being beaten by cops on a Delhi road during the February riots, following which he died.
The court issued the notice on the basis of a petition filed by Kismatun, 61, alleging that her son Faizan was later tortured in custody before he was released and he died in hospital.
The videos had showed Faizan and four other youths lying injured on a road while policemen assaulted them with batons and kicked them, ordering them to sing the national anthem and taunting them with the word “azadi”.
In her petition before the court, Kismatun had sought the constitution of a court-monitored special investigation team to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the death of Faizan.
The petition had also said that although the police had registered a murder case, there had been no progress in the investigation.
According to the petition, the investigation conducted by the crime branch over the past nine months was nothing but a sham and designed to shield the guilty men in uniform rather than investigating the crime.
Faizan’s family has alleged that while the five youths lay on the road after the police assault, they were taken not to a hospital but to a police lockup and brutalised again.
Delhi police had registered a case accusing “unknown people” of killing Faizan.
A senior police officer claimed that a mob had assaulted Faizan and four others in Jaffrabad, the epicentre of the violence, and the police had taken them to hospital. “A probe is still on to identify those who assaulted the five youths.”
Told that the videos showed policemen beating the youths with batons and that Faizan’s family had alleged custody torture, the officer said on the condition of anonymity: “The cops did not beat them. They rushed them to hospital when they saw them lying on the ground after being assaulted by a mob.”
He, however, said it was a big mistake on the part of the police to force the youths to sing the national anthem. “An inquiry is on to identify these policemen.”
During the northeast Delhi riots, several videos had surfaced purportedly showing the police supporting the rioters, either standing and watching the mobs run amok or, in some instances, accompanying them as they raided Muslim neighbourhoods. One close-shot video showed Faizan and the four other injured youths lying on the ground, one of them bleeding, trying to sing lines from the national anthem. A policeman is heard saying: “Achchhi tarah ga (Sing it properly).”
The police were seen prodding and beating the youths with their batons, and abusing them.
Delhi police on Thursday raided the office of lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who is handling several cases related to the riots in which 53 people died. He is representing many of the accused in the riot cases.
A police officer said Pracha’s office was searched after obtaining a warrant from a local court. The lawyer said the cops seized his computers and laptop. Delhi police have alleged that Pracha had tutored victims to give false statements in riot cases. Pracha has denied the allegations.