Former JNU students Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam used social media to radicalise youth and mobilise them for the ‘chakka jam’ as a means to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Delhi Police has mentioned in its charge sheet. The CAA fast-tracks Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Christians from the three neighbouring Islamic countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
In its charge sheet, the Delhi Police has maintained that the protests were never peaceful and the ultimate objective of these protests was large-scale violence against the state. Recently, WhatsApp conversations which date back to February 17, revealed that the Delhi riots were organised and facilitated through provocation and active mobilisation of the masses.
Further, Delhi Police charge sheet mentions Aam Aadmi Party co-founder and former leader Yogendra Yadav. Yadav reportedly met Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid at Jantar Mantar in 2019 while protesting against the CAA. The police has alleged that the trio decided to use social media to indoctrinate and mobilise youth for chakka jam. Delhi Police also alleged that Imam was the mastermind behind the Shaheen Bagh protest site.
The charge sheet further reveals that the key conspirators chose NorthEast Delhi for riots because of its unique socio-economic and demographic matrix. This uniqueness provided the conspirators an ideal place for ‘mass scale mobilisation and violence’, the police has alleged. As per the Delhi Police, the conspirators found the people living in these localities ‘dispensable’ and ‘vulnerable’ even as they stayed safe in their homes in upscale South East Delhi.
The Delhi Police has also established inferences between the December 2019 violence and February 2020 riots. “That all the hotspots of December 219 were repeated with varying intensities in February 2020. The modus operandi of the culprits in both the periods under reference is a text book copy of each other that is mobilisation fuelled by incendiary speeches followed by ‘Chakka Jaam’ and violence. Almost every character who gained notoriety in February 2020 had been noticed as being present in the incidents of December 2019,” Delhi Police said in the charge sheet.
Primary target in both the periods were police personnel followed by non-Muslim population. However, there were also two major notable differences. “While Jamia and Shaheen Bagh reported the most severe riots in December 2019, this locality was spared deliberately and avoided by the rioters in February 2020. And women at the forefront (both local and transplanted) were the universal underlying theme of the protest in February 2020 as against the incidents of December 2019,” Delhi Police said.
As per the police, the conspirators learnt their lessons for February 2020 riots from the December 2019 violence.