In a significant development, the Delhi High Court on Monday made big observations on the 2020 Delhi Riots, calling them a ‘pre-planned and pre-meditated’ conspiracy. While denying the bail application of a man who is accused of killing Head constable Ratan Lal and causing grievous injuries to a police official, Justice Subramonium Prasad delivered strong remarks on the riots which shook Northeast Delhi last year.
The Delhi HC noted that the events that had transpired in the national capital ‘did not take place in a spur of the moment.’ There was a ‘pre-planned’ conspiracy to disturb law and order of the city. Highlighting the conduct of the protestors who are present in the video footage, which has been placed on record by the prosecution, Justice Prasad stated that the video visibly portrays that it was a ‘calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government’ as well as to ‘disrupt the normal life of the people’ in the city.
Key observations by Delhi HC on February 2020 riots
The HC stated that the systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras further confirmed the existence of a pre-planned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city. This was also evident from the fact that “innumerable rioters ruthlessly act that in descended with sticks, dandas, bats etc. upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials”, it said.
Asserting that ‘individual liberty’ can not be used to threaten the fabric of civilized society, the Delhi HC dismissed the bail of accused Mohd Ibrahim saying that the petitioner had been identified on multiple CCTV footages, carrying a sword and instigating the crowd. “The clinching evidence that tilts this Court towards prolonging the incarceration of the Petitioner is that the weapon which is being carried by the Petitioner is capable of causing grievous injuries and/or death, and is prima facie a dangerous weapon,” the Delhi High Court stated.
Delhi riots 2020
On February 23, 2020, clashes broke out between CAA supporters and anti-CAA protesters in northeast Delhi and continued over the next two days resulting in the death of 53 persons and the injury of more than 200 others. The Delhi police has filed over 111 FIRs, naming 650 people persons as accused including prominent anti-CAA protesters- Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid, ‘United Against Hate’ chief Khalid Saifi, Congress ex-councillor Ishrat Jahan, ex-AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, RJD youth wing’s Meeran Haider, Pinjda Tod activists Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita etc. They have been charged under the UAPA and several sections of the IPC including rioting, murder and criminal conspiracy.