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Secret meetings, plan of action and riots: How Safoora Zargar and others are intertwined in the murder of Ratan Lal during Delhi riots

Other than the secret meeting right before the riots broke out, another meeting about two weeks ago was held in secret. In this meeting, the witness says that at 12 AM a meeting was held where two people from every "protest" site from across the Yamuna river were called in.

The anti-Hindu Delhi riots were the result of a deep-rooted conspiracy that was hatched at several levels. The riots, that took place in Main Wazirabad Road in Chand Bagh resulted in the brutal murder of policeman Ratan Lal on the 24th. The Islamist mob had mercilessly pelted Ratan Lal, beat him up with iron rods and sticks and also shot him once. The Ratan Lal chargesheet filed in the Wazirabad Road riots, which also names Safoora Zargar, much like the chargesheet filed in the Chand Bagh riots case, points towards a larger conspiracy that led to the brutal murder.

OpIndia had reported earlier that the Sikh man who was hailed as a Messiah for the anti-CAA protestors and was setting up langars to feed the protestors was also an active participant and instigator in the riots, according to the chargesheet. In the chargesheet, it was mentioned categorically that DS Bindra was one of the instigators of the riots that led to the murder of Ratan Lal. The charge sheet also categorically states that the conspirators “were fully aware that violence may ensue and had accordingly directed the protestors to arm themselves”. 

Further, the charge sheet says, “On 23.02.2020 the above said accused persons along with other organizers, conspirators and rioters convened a meeting at Chand Bagh and asked the residents to equip themselves with iron rods, Dandas, Petrol Bombs etc for the next day. On 24.02.2020 at around 1 pm as per plan, the riots erupted and the protestors attacked the police personnel. Numbers of police personnel were injured and HC Ratan Lal was killed”.

A further perusal of the chargesheet has revealed a far deeper conspiracy between several individuals like DS Bindra, Safoora Zargar and the local Muslim protestors to unleash riots in the area.

The chargesheet mentioned that there was a secret meeting between the instigators, conspirators and rioters on the intervening night of 23rd and 24th and it was after this secret meeting that riots erupted that resulted in the murder of Ratan Lal by the Islamist mob.

Ratan Lal chargesheet, a chargesheet that names Safoora Zargar too
Ratan Lal Chargesheet

The chargesheet mentions that after Bhim Army, a pre-planned, illegal march was started from Chand Bagh to Rajghat. This was done to instigate the feelings of people and also, the mob did not have the permission to carry out the march.

The march was spearheaded by various local conspirators and organisers along with Safoora Zargar and other JCC members along with other locals such as Athar, Suleman, Shadab, Ravish, Saleem Khan, Saleem Munna and others. But the same was stopped and confined back to the protest site at Chand Bagh Mazar. Thereafter, the chargesheet says, “Which resulted into a secret meeting at Chand Bagh in the intervening night of 23/24 February between the organizers and conspirators”.

The names who were with Safoora are pertinent since the chargesheet further said, “The riot at this site was the handiwork of D.S Bindra, Salman Siddiqui, Salim Khan, Salim Munna, Shahdab and Athar and others in cahoots with local rioters”

A witness statement which is relied upon in the chargesheet also corroborates the investigation of the police.

Witness statement in the Ratan Lal chargesheet, a chargesheet that names Safoora Zargar too
Witness Statement in the Ratan Lal Chargesheet

The statement by the Muslim witness reveals another interesting fact (the name of the witness is being withheld). Other than the secret meeting right before the riots broke out, another meeting about two weeks ago was held in secret. In this meeting, the witness says that at 12 AM a meeting was held where two people from every “protest” site from across the Yamuna river were called in.

The proposition to support the call of Bhim Army on the 23rd of February was placed then itself. When some people present raised an objection saying that the sit-in protests were not yielding any results, “Upasana, Athar and Shabad did not listen to them”. It is pertinent to note that the police investigation found that Athar and Shabad, named in the witness statement, were indeed with Safoora Zargar in starting the illegal march and that the riot was their handiwork.

Another witness statement reveals far more than just the secret meeting.

Witness statement in the Ratan Lal chargesheet, a chargesheet that names Safoora Zargar too
Witness statement in the Ratan Lal chargesheet

The statement by a Muslim witness (name withheld) says that several Muslims, Dalits and students had congregated for the march by Bhim Army which was stopped by the police. Thereafter, the police stopped the march and sealed the Wazirabad road. A rumour was then spread that violence had erupted on another protest site in Jaffrabad.

This was the place where Muslim women along with JCC members and others, especially Pinjra Tod members had blocked the metro road and violence had erupted on the 23rd. It is pertinent to note that in the charge-sheet, it categorically mentioned that it was the anti-CAA Muslims who had started pelting stones and indulging in violence at those who were demanding re-opening of the roads blocked by the anti-CAA protestors. This was reported extensively by OpIndia.

Here are images of the clashes in Jaffrabad from the 23rd February as reported by ANI.

Violence by Muslim mobs on 23rd in Jaffrabad
Violence by Muslim mobs on 23rd in Jaffrabad

The witness statement in question says that after this violence in Jaffrabad, a “secret meeting” was convened by the organisers in Lane Number 4 of Chand Bagh. Post the secret meeting, the organisers went on the stage and told the protestors that “this was the time to show them our strength” and due to the visit of US President Donald Trump, all eyes would be on India and hence, the protestors were urged to show up on 24th with maximum number of people.

On 24th, the witness says that as he left his house, he saw the mobs holding rods, swords, stones and sticks, ready to attack Hindus.

Another witness says that after the secret meeting, Muslims congregated there were told by Athar and others that they were to carry rods, stones etc to show the Government and the rest of India their protest against NRC will continue.

Witness statement in the Ratan Lal chargesheet, a chargesheet that names Safoora Zargar too
Witness statement in the Ratan Lal chargesheet

The undisputed role of Safoora Zargar in the Ratan Lal chargesheet

In the Ratan Lal chargesheet, Safoora Zargar’s name featured multiple times. The first allegation in the chargesheet is rather simple – she was one of the main organisers behind the illegal march on 23rd of February from Chand Bagh to Rajghat that was stopped, and subsequently, secret meetings were held planning the riots on 24th of February.

Accused Shabad was well acquainted with Kawalpreet Kaur (AISA), Devangana Kalita (Pinjra Tod), Safoora, Yogendra Yadav etc. About Shabad, the chargesheet says, “A meeting on 23rd February night was held at Chand Bagh to finalize the action plan for 24/20/2020, for the same accused Shahdab along with other organizers and accused stayed at Chand Bagh. The organizers including accused Shadab instigated the protesters to be violent and in a planned manner asked them to join the protest and equip themselves for any violence”.

The chargesheet further says, “The weapons used to assault police officials and set ablaze properties could not have been abruptly arranged. It was well planned in advance by the organizers of the protest site at Chand Bagh to spread violence on 24/02/2020 and the instigated rioters with common intention created havoc which led to the loss of life and property. The links of the organizers of the protest site with the likes of DS Bindra (AIMIM), Kawalpreet Kaur (AISA), Devangana Kalita (Pinjratod), Safoora, Yogendra Yadav etc. itself indicates a hidden agenda behind the violence. The CDRs of the mobile numbers of the accused persons reveal that most of them were in regular touch of each other. The most common aspect to be noticed is that all the arrested accused persons have deleted the data pertaining to date 23/02/2020 & 24/02/2020 from their respective mobile phones”.

Another accused, Salman Siddiqui, was also named as one of the main conspirators behind the riots that claimed the life of Ratan Lal. The chargesheet says, “As per the call detail records of mobile number 91XXXXXXX3 of Salman, he was in regular touch with a number of other organizers and conspirators namely DS Bindra, Athar, Ravish, Saleem Munna, Saleem Khan, Ayub, Ibrahim and Safoora etc. 

Safoora is named in other parts of the chargesheet as well. Here is a clinching excerpt:

During the investigation of the case by Special Cell, it has been found that the riots that took place in December have a connection with riots that later took place in various parts of Delhi including the riot at Chand Bagh. The Jamia Co-ordination committee had managed all the protest sites to achieve its objective and every site was being supervised/handled by the members of JCC. During the investigation it has been found that JCC representative namely Safoora was looking after the Chand Bagh Mazar site and had played an important role in instigating the protestors. Accordingly, Safoora was arrested by IO of Special cell in FIR no 59/20. Role of Safoora in the present case is further being probed and a report regarding the same shall be filed through supplementary charge sheet.

It is therefore evident from the chargesheet that Safoora Zargar is as much intertwined in the murder of Ratan Lal as is any Islamist who hurled the stone towards him, shot him or beat him up with rods and sticks. Further, the occurrence of secret meetings right before the riots broke out and the instructions to protestors to carry rods, stones and swords clearly indicates that an elaborate conspiracy was hatched to unleash riots on the 24th of February 2020.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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