Delhi riots: Police files charge sheet under UAPA against 15 for larger conspiracy
Delhi police on Wednesday filed a charge sheet before a city court under the UAPA and various sections of the IPC against 15 persons for larger conspiracy in northeast Delhi riots in February even as a group of activists and academics demanded immediate release of those booked under the stringent law.
According to sources, those named in the charge sheet are Taahir Hussain, Mohd Parvez Ahmed, Mohd Illyas, Saifi Khalid, Ishrat Jahan, Miran Haider, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Shahdab Ahmed, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd Saleem Khan and Athar Khan.
The special cell of the police told additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that it had relied upon CD-R and WhatsApp chats.
In the charge sheet running into 10,000 pages, the police has listed 747 witnesses; of them, 51 have recorded their statements under Section 164 of CrPC (before the magistrate).
The final report has been filed under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.
The police said it has given the chronology of conspiracy and relevant events in its charge sheet which is likely to be taken up for consideration in the coming days.
The evidence includes WhatsApp chats of February 24, the time of the riots. At that point, key conspirators were guiding their foot soldiers about violence in the area. The key conspirators were directly in touch with their foot soldiers, police said.
WhatsApp groups were used by conspirators for “violence” in the Seelampur-Jafarabad area. There were 25 protest sites in 25 cities. Twenty-five WhatsApp groups were especially created for each city. The impression was given that they were anti-CAA protest groups but through these sites conspirators were being guided, it said.
The special cell said that Tahir Hussain, Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid had allegedly planned massive violence in the capital during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Delhi.
In the charge sheet, which discusses the conspiracy behind the Delhi riots, the police has claimed that on January 8, Tahir had met Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi at the Shaheen Bagh sit-in. Meetings subsequently also took place in the PFI office in Jamia.
Umar said that through his contacts (in the PFI), logistical support, etc. will be provided, the police said.
It said the probe is still underway and the force will file a supplementary charge sheet in the matter.
A group of activists and academics on Wednesday demanded immediate release of those booked under the UAPA in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.
They sought the setting up of a judicial inquiry commission to punish the “real culprits”.
In a joint statement, they alleged that the democratic voices of dissent were being “gradually implicated”.
The statement came after the arrest of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid by the Delhi police on September 13. Khalid has been charged under the UAPA.
The joint statement was issued by Syeda Hameed, writer and former member of erstwhile Planning Commission of India, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar, CPIML politburo member Kavita Krishnan, journalist Pamela Philipose and former DUTA president Nandita Narain.
“All democratic voices of dissent are being gradually implicated. This includes students, academicians, artists, politicians and activists. We demand an immediate end to this outrageous investigation that is being conducted with prejudice and mala fide intent,” the statement stated.
“We demand that activists booked under the UAPA be immediately released and a judicial inquiry commission be constituted to punish the real culprits and ensure justice for the Delhi violence,” it stated.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and those against the legislation spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
At a news conference earlier in the day, Bhushan said they recently requested President Ram Nath Kovind to constitute a commission of inquiry.