On Saturday, Delhi Court held that the Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Councilor Tahir Hussain and ten others accused in the 2020 north-east Delhi Riots case had an “objective to harm Hindus in their body and property”.
From the facts and evidence in the present case, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala of the Karkardooma Court, Delhi stated that several people assembled at Tahir Hussain’s house, some of them were armed with firearms, petrol bombs were also arranged, stones were kept in his house in sacks and other containers. All of these tactics were utilised to precisely target Hindus, he stated.
The court also stated that every member of the mob gathered there helped to attain the goal to target “Hindus”.
“…. preparations, as well as the use of this house as a base, demonstrate that the members of this mob were acting out of a prior meeting of their minds and with a clear-cut goal in mind to ‘harm Hindus’ in any way possible, the court said.
Depending on a Supreme Court judgment of Firozuddin Basheeruddin V. State of Kerala, 2001, the court opined, “This mob acted out of a criminal conspiracy to attack the property no. E-98/2, Khajuri Khas. Hence, all accused are liable to be tried for hatching a criminal conspiracy to indulge in riot and to harm the properties of Hindus and consequent to such conspiracy attacking property no. E-98/2, Khajuri Khas, Delhi, assaulting the persons from the Hindu community, who were present in that building and vandalizing as well as setting on fire the parked vehicles, the covered parking place and the upper floor with the food items.”
ASJ Pramachala further indicated that the videotape compiled by the Investigating Officer (IO) from social media displayed that accused Tahir Hussain was fully actively participating in rioting and persons present on his terrace were pelting stones at connecting properties and on the road.
ASJ Pramachala further noted, “Such video, which is stated to be pertaining to the same date and of the around same time, belies the contention made on behalf of accused Tahir Hussain that Tahir Hussain himself was a victim. The conduct of accused Tahir Hussain as appearing in these video clips is not consistent with a such plea of being a victim”,
Denying the defence counsel’s contention that the statements of eye-witnesses in the case were documented much later from the incident were denied and planted, the court opined that just because statements of the eye-witnesses were recorded in the case at a late stage, without allowing the prosecution and the witnesses to explain the reasons, they could not be declared untrustworthy.
The court stated that it is significant to remember that riots in Delhi stayed several days at a time and the Delhi Police and other security forces were called in to put a stop to the riots, so, the police concentrated on controlling the riots and restoration rather than investigating each incident of the riots.
Furthermore, the court said, “At a time of panic, everything cannot be expected to happen in a very streamlined manner. Even all the victims and witnesses did not have the courage to make instant complaints against anyone. They were more concerned about their safety. Thereafter, people fought against the pandemic of Covid and there was a complete lockdown. Delay in registration of FIR or recording of witnesses in a case, thus, may be due to any such reasons and requires scrutiny during the trial. At this stage, therefore, this court cannot raise any presumption against the veracity of the statement of the cited witnesses on account of delay.”
Taking note of the statement of one of the witnesses, ASJ Pramachala stated that accused Tahir Hussain and Liyakat Ali along with their mates were pelting stones and petrol bombs towards a parking area and they were also screaming the slogan of “maro salon ko”.
The court also took note of another witness’s statement wherein he stated that “One mob was raising slogan of ‘Allah hoo Akbar’ and another mob was raising slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’.