Delhi Court frames charges against 9 accused in NE Delhi violence case

New Delhi: A trial court has ordered to frame charges against nine accused in a case where a mob allegedly resorted to rioting, violence, and vandalism in North East Delhi in February 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge Virendra Bhat in an order passed on October 11 said, “Considering the entire material on record, it is prima facie evidence that the charges u/s 147/148/149/380/427/436/452 Indian Penal Code (IPC) are liable to be framed against all the accused.”

Meanwhile, lawyers who appeared for the accused submitted that the statements of the public witnesses are not trustworthy as they were recorded more than one month after the date of the incident. The lawyers also submitted that such huge unexplained delay in recording of the statements of the material witnesses is sufficient to indicate at this very stage itself that they were planted later on and they had not actually witnessed any such incident.

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On that, lawyers representing the Prosecution submitted that there was an atmosphere of terror and trauma which prevailed in the area for several days even after the riots. “The situation was brought under control by the police and paramilitary forces. There had been instances of rioting, killing, looting, vandalizing, setting ablaze movable and immovable properties, etc. by the members of each community against each other. Soon after the situation had become normal to some extent, there was the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic which resulted in a complete lockdown from the second week of March 2020 and this too resulted in a delay in recording the statements of the public witnesses,” the prosecutor submitted.

Taking notes of arguments of both sides the Court said, “it would be a miscarriage of justice to disbelieve the statements of these witnesses at this very stage and throw out the prosecution case merely for the reason that their statements were recorded after about one month of the incident. In the opinion of this Court, the delay in recording of the statements of these witnesses does not appear to be deliberate or contumacious.”

The Court further stated, “it appears to have occasioned on account of the situation which prevailed in the area during and after the incident of rioting and therefore, the accused cannot claim discharge in this case merely on this score. The truthfulness or otherwise of the statements of these witnesses can be assessed only during the trial of the case.”

According to the Delhi Police, all the accused were part and parcel of the unlawful assembly that had gathered in the streets near main Brijpuri Road, Bhagirathi Vihar, Delhi on February 25 last year during the protest against NRC/CAA and in pursuance to the common objective of the unlawful assembly, they not only damaged and looted properties worth crores of rupees but also burnt a large number of houses, shops, schools, vehicles belonging to the general public. They’re also alleged to have created disharmony in society by threatening and terrorising the public at large. It is stated that the above acts of the accused are not only antinational but also a challenge to the established Rule of Law in Delhi.

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