Delhi riots: Just wanted to scare cop, Shahrukh tells court

New Delhi: Shahrukh Pathan, who had allegedly pointed a gun at a Delhi Police head constable during the 2020 Delhi riots, on Thursday told a court here that he did not fire shots at the cop and merely wanted to scare him and not kill, a claim opposed by the prosecution.

A photograph of Pathan pointing a gun at Delhi Police Head Constable Deepak Dahiya had gone viral on social media during the communal riots last year. He was arrested on March 3, 2020, and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

To show that there was no attempt to murder the cop, Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing Pathan, played a 26-seconds long video of the incident in the court and said that the accused fired two shots – one in the air and second to his right, following which he had a heated conversation with Dahiya and turned back.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat then asked the lawyer to replay the video and pointed towards the position of Pathan’s gun just before he shot fire in the air. “Look at the position of his gun. It is not pointed up. It is straight [at Dahiya]. When he is taking the aim, it is straight,” the judge noted.

The advocate, however, clarified that neither of the two gunshots was aimed at the head constable. “The State’s case is based on Dahiya. He is the potential victim and is not fired at. The first is in the air and the second is on the right,” she said.

Guruswamy added, “If I (accused) wanted to shoot him, I would have but that was not the intention. The accused turned around and ran away. Does any of this demonstrate the intention to kill or shoot him? At best, this is the intention to scare,” Pathan’s counsel said that he did not shoot Dahiya but instead asked him to step back. “We had a conversation as heated as it can be and then we retreated. Where is the intention to kill?” she submitted.

She further said, “I had ample opportunity in this 26 seconds to kill Dahiya or to say the least to injure him. I am trying to scare him. Objectionable as it is for a citizen to scare a police officer, Section 307 IPC [attempt to murder] is not made out because I had no intention to kill,”

Special Public Prosecutor Anuj Handa, appearing for the police, said that the accused had clearly pointed the gun at the cop. “Opposing Guruswamy’s arguments that Pathan had no intention to kill the cop,” Handa said. “The gun is pointed slightly downwards directly at the head of the complainant. His hand going upwards is because of the recoil after shots are fired,” he added.

“The question I ask myself is this, during the first part of the video, he shoots at the different directions of the mob, who might be belonging to the different community. Suppose any person would have succumbed to the injuries, would the offense not have been made out?” the prosecutor asked.

Pathan is facing charges of offenses such as rioting with a deadly weapon, an attempt to murder, assault, and obstructing public servants in the discharge of duty under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi in February 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiraled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

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