A Delhi court has given the first verdict in a case related to the anti-Hindu Delhi riots in northeast Delhi in February last year and acquitted a man named Suresh alias Bhatura, who was accused of being part of a mob that reportedly attacked and looted a shop.
The Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat passed the acquittal order saying that the testimony of witnesses are completely contradictory to each other, including the police witnesses.
“Statements of the witnesses are completely contradictory to each other, including police witnesses”, the court said, according to Live Law. “Accused is acquitted of all charges. It is a clear-cut acquittal,” said Judge Rawat.
According to reports, Suresh was tried under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 395 (dacoity), after one Asif filed a complaint against him. The FIR had stated that on February 25, 2020, at around 4 pm, a huge crowd of people carrying iron rods and lathis broke open the shutter and entered Asif’s shop located at Main Babarpur Road looted it.
The complainant Asif was reportedly a tenant in the shop that originally belonged to one Bhagat Singh. Singh had said in his statement to the police that the members of the mob looted the shop as they thought that it was owned by a Muslim man. He added that he had initially tried to reason with the mob, but since they were not willing to relinquish, he approached a head constable, who reached the spot, and the crowd dispersed after seeing the policeman.
During the hearing in the case, Bhagat Singh had testified against Suresh on April 7, 2020, as being part of the mob that attacked his shop.
The court had on March 9 framed charges in this case under sections 143 (Punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly),147 (Punishment for rioting), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees),454 (Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking in order to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in the prosecution of common object) and 395 (Punishment for dacoity) of the IPC.
Prosecution evidence on this case began on March 18 and ended on March 23. On March 25, the accused Suresh recorded his statement before the court and told the court that he did not wish to lead any evidence in the case. The final arguments in the case were heard on March 30.
The court was supposed to give its verdict in the case on April 12 which was deferred due to various reasons. Finally, today the court pronounced its verdict and decided to acquit Suresh due to the lack of substantial evidence against him.
Delhi HC clears the deck for the trial of several accused in the north-east anti-Hindu Delhi riot case
It is pertinent to note here that on March 24, 2021, Delhi HC had vacated its earlier stay order and cleared the deck for the trial of several accused in the north-east anti-Hindu Delhi riot case, including notorious radical Islamist Umar Khalid, Pinjra Tod members and far-left ‘activists’ Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, JNU student Sharjeel Imam and former Aam Aadmi Party councilor Tahir Hussain, self-proclaimed activist Khalid Saifi, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Earlier, the Delhi Police had filed over 750 FIRs in connection with the Delhi riots cases against offences such as giving communally insinuating speeches, creating religious hatred, looting, arson, destroying public and private property, causing injury and murder among others. It had named 15 prime accused in the Anti-Hindu Delhi riots case.
It had also arrested 20 accused persons including former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and Jamia Millia Islamia students in this particular case on the charges of instigating Muslim mobs to unleash terror on the streets of the national capital.