Delhi Court Charges 3 For Arson, Rioting In 2020 Northeast Delhi Violence



The prosecution said about 400-500 people with wooden and iron rods had gathered in the riots.

New Delhi:

A Delhi court has framed charges against three accused of setting a mosque Janati Masjid on fire in the Gokupuri area during Northeast Delhi violence 2020. The Court has also framed charges against them for vandalism and rioting.

Additional Session Judge Virender Bhat framed charges against Deepak, Prince and shiv under sections related to riots, unlawful assembly, theft, mischief and arson of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Court framed the charges against the accused on the basis of the statement of two public witnesses Shareem and Sajid, a video containing the visuals of accused persons and the CFSL report of the video.

On the point of delay in recording the statement of two witnesses the Court said, ”It needs to be kept in mind that on account of atmosphere of terror and trauma due to unprecedented riots that had been taken in North-East District of Delhi from 24.02 .2020 to 27.02.2020, the public got immensely traumatized to the extent that nobody was willing to come forward and make a statement to the police with regards to the incidents of violence which they had witnessed. It is for this reason that the delay in recording the statement of the above two witnesses, in this case, can not be held fatal to the prosecution case at this stage when charges are to be decided against the accused.

The Court observed,”It would be highly unjustified to disbelieve the witnesses’ statement at the threshold without testing their version on the touchstone of the cross-examination during the course of the trial. Thus the Court found prima facie sufficient material to frame charges against the accused persons.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) submitted that all the three accused have been identified, as rioters, vandalized and set on fire the Janati Mosque on 24 February 2020, by the two public witnesses Shareem and Sajid.

He further submitted that the accused persons are clearly seen in the video footage. The charges for all the offenses as mentioned in the charge sheet are made out against all the persons.

On the other hand, defense counsels argued that the accused along with two minors were arrested in this case on 9 March 2020 without any evidence against them on that date. The CD containing the video footage of the incident was admittedly seized by the Investigation officer on 10 March 2020.

It was further argued that the initial charge sheet was filed without any evidence against the accused. Later on, two witnesses were planted against them whose statements were recorded on 5 May 2020. It is a clear case of false implication and therefore, all the accused are liable to be discharged.

According to the prosecution information was received in the Police Station Gokulpuri on 24 February 2020 that some people are demolishing the mosque on Gokulpuri main road, Sabhapur and about 15-20 persons were trapped inside the mosque.

Fire brigade vehicle had also reached the spot which was extinguishing the fire in the mosque. Nobody was found trapped in the mosque.

The prosecution said about 400-500 people with wooden and iron rods had gathered at the spot. They were resorting to vandalization as well as arson in the area.

Accordingly, an FIR was registered in this regard. The investigation officer had also prepared the rough site plan of the spot. No CCTV was found installed nearby the spot and hence no footage could be collected. Later on, one constable got a video from an informer. The video was of the incident in which all the accused persons including two juveniles were seen rioting.



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