Delhi riot cases: Confessional statements or copy-paste job by police?

Shaheen Nazar

New Delhi: Literary organisations like Sahitya Academy, Booker Prize or Nobel Prize in Literature should pay attention to what journalist Ravish Kumar is saying these days in his prime time TV show: The ‘writers’ in the ranks of Delhi Police deserve literary awards for the kind of fiction they are producing post-Delhi riots. They are imaginative; they are creative; and they have skill to produce stories that create waves. This is what a writer does and wins accolades for. The capital’s policemen must not be denied their due, people say.

Those who raised provocative slogans gave ultimatums to police and incited people to attack a particular community have been left untouched and even provided police protection. But those who suffered at the hands of rioters, those who came to the rescue of victims, provided them relief and shelter and treated the injured free of cost have been booked by police under stringent laws.

To justify their injustices meted out to the riot victims, it is alleged that the police are using their imagination and creating fiction. Details of the cases coming to us through media reports are shocking and hilarious as well. Latest in the series is a report in today’s Indian Express. It says a scrutiny of the confessional statements of those booked reveals a pattern: Nine of the 12 accused have statements near identical — words and sentences are repeated ad verbatim.
Three of the remaining accused have distinct statements where they talk of how they got a pistol and one admits that he started “indiscriminate firing on Hindus.” These statements, recorded under Section 161 Cr PC and attached in the charge sheet, are not substantive evidence but can be used to corroborate or contradict evidence during the trial. The charge sheet has been filed in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Karkardooma, says the Express.

Matching statements of four

The newspaper has given matching statements of four accused, Azad (24), Rashid/Monu (20), Ashraf Ali (29) and Mohd Faizal (20), related to riots in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur locality:

Azad: “In the last few days, there were protests against CAA and NRC; my friends told me those who don’t have evidence (to prove citizenship) will be evicted from the country. On the basis of this, on 24 February, in Seelampur, riots had begun; and slowly it spread across Jamnapar. At around 2-3 pm, many people started gathering at Shiv Vihar Tiraha and started pelting stones at Hindu houses. Hindus also started pelting stones at us; this went on for quite a long time.”

“….At Mustafabad, many people had gathered and stated that Muslims will be evicted from the country and today we have to show them the strength of Muslims. Along with the entire crowd, I also got carried away by what the crowd was saying…The crowd gathered at Shiv Vihar, where Hindu pelted stones at us, we threw stones at them. From our side, the crowd was sloganeering: kill them, we will not leave the Kaafirs today. I got carried away and started pelting stones. I continued to pelt stones for a long time.”
“…After this, the crowd started climbing onto the godown of Anil Sweet shop and Rajdhani School and indulged in stone pelting. I returned to my house in the night and stayed there. I committed a mistake, please forgive me.”

Monu: “In the last few days, there were protests against CAA and NRC; my friends told me those who don’t have evidence (to prove citizenship) will be evicted from the country. On the basis of this, on 24 February, in Seelampur, riots had begun; and slowly it spread across Jamnapar. At around 2-3 pm, many people started gathering at Shiv Vihar Tiraha and started pelting stones at Hindu houses. Hindus also started pelting stones at us; this went on for quite a long time.”
“….At Mustafabad, many people had gathered and stated that Muslims will be evicted from the country and today we have to show them the strength of Muslims. Along with the entire crowd, I also got carried away by what the crowd was saying…The crowd gathered at Shiv Vihar, where Hindu pelted stones at us, we threw stones at them. From our side, the crowd was sloganeering: kill them, we will not leave the Kaafirs today. I got carried away and started pelting stones. I continued to pelt stones for a long time.”
“…After this, the crowd started climbing onto the godown of Anil Sweet shop and Rajdhani School and indulged in stone pelting. I returned home after 7-8 hours and stayed there. I committed a mistake, please forgive me.”

All these sentences are repeated, ad verbatim, in the confession statements of Ashraf Ali and Mohd Faisal.

Matching excerpts for two

Similar is the pattern in the confessionalal statements of Mohammed Shoeb (22) and  Shahrukh (24) related to the riots in the Jafrabad locality.

Shoeb: “There were protests against CAA and NRC; my friends told me those who don’t have evidence (to prove citizenship) will be evicted from the country. On the basis of this, on 24 February, in Jafrabad, riots had begun; and slowly it spread across Jamnapar,”
“…At around 3 pm, many people started gathering at Shiv Vihar Tiraha and started pelting stones at Hindu houses.”

“…At Mustafabad, many people gathered and started saying Muslims will be evicted from the country, and today we have to show them the strength of Muslims. I also started sloganeering and others who were with me also started sloganeering against the Hindus. After this, the entire crowd, started sloganeering, to set fire, throw out the kaafirs and Naare Takbir, Allah Hu Akbar; and started throwing marbles and stones using a slingshot at Hindu houses.”

Shahrukh: “There were protests against CAA and NRC; my friends told me those who don’t have evidence (to prove citizenship) will be evicted from the country. On the basis of this, on 24 February, in Jafrabad, riots had begun; and slowly it spread across Jamnapar,”
“…At around 3 pm, many people started gathering at Shiv Vihar Tiraha and started pelting stones at Hindu houses.”

“…At Mustafabad, many people gathered and started saying Muslims will be evicted from the country, and today we have to show them the strength of Muslims. I also started sloganeering and others who were with me also started sloganeering against the Hindus. After this, the entire crowd, started sloganeering, to set fire, throw out the kaafirs and Naare Takbir, Allah Hu Akbar; and started throwing marbles and stones using a slingshot at Hindu houses.”

Matching excerpts for three

The statements of Tahir (38), Parvez (34) and Rashid (22), constitute a similar matching set, identical to the statements above with a minor addition.

Tahir: “In the last few days, there were protests against CAA and NRC; my friends and experts told me that those who don’t have evidence (to prove citizenship) will be evicted from the country. On the basis of this, on 24 February, in Jafrabad riots had begun; and slowly it spread across Jamnapar…”
“…At around 3 pm, many people started gathering at Shiv Vihar Tiraha and started pelting stones at Hindu houses.”

“…At Mustafabad, many people had gathered and started telling that Muslims will be evicted from the country, and today we have to show them the strength of Muslims. After this, the entire crowd, started sloganeering, to set fire, throw out the kaafirs and Naare Takbir, Allah Hu Akbar; and started throwing marbles and stones using a slingshot at Hindu houses.”

These paragraphs from Tahir’s statement are repeated ad verbatim in the confessional statements of both Parvez and Rashid.
The statements differ in the weapons used. Azad and Ashraf Ali said they had a “wooden balla”; Monu said he had an “iron rod;” Faizal claimed he had a “stick.” Shoeb, Shahrukh, Tahir, Parvez, and Rashid claimed that they had “stored” lathis at their homes.

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