Bail denied to 8 accused in Jahangirpuri violence case

RAF jawans stand guard as a Muslim man walks with children on Eid-al-Fitr, in violence hit Jahangirpuri area, in New Delhi, on May 3, 2022.

RAF jawans stand guard as a Muslim man walks with children on Eid-al-Fitr, in violence hit Jahangirpuri area, in New Delhi, on May 3, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Denying bail to eight of the accused arrested for the Jahangirpuri communal violence last month, a local court in Rohini has asked the Delhi police to fix accountability on local officials, who, it said, instead of stopping an illegal Hanuman Jayanti procession, marched alongside it which later led to "riots" in the area.

The court of Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Gagandeep Singh in Rohini was hearing the bail applications of the eight accused — Imteyaz, Noor Alam, Sheikh Hamid, Ahmad Ali, Sheikh Hamid, S.K. Sahahada, Sheikh Zakir and Ahir — all of whom argued that they were from the labour class and sole bread earners in their families and that they had been falsely implicated in the case.

The prosecution, represented by Chief Public Prosecutor Maqsood Ahmed, argued that the accused were arrested on April 17 based on eyewitness statements and identification through CCTV footage. They added that "other witnesses are being motivated to come forward to give their version, but they are not coming forward as the accused/applicant and other culprits are known criminals in the area".

The court considered this argument and said that given the prosecution's apprehensions as such, the possibility of the accused threatening or influencing witnesses could not be ruled out if they were enlarged on bail and thus dismissed their applications.

‘Fix liability’

However, before parting with his order, ASJ Singh pulled up the Delhi police for their "utter failure" to stop an illegal procession that had no prior permission from them. "The issue seems to have been simply brushed aside by the senior officers. The liability on the part of the officials concerned needs to be fixed so that in future no such incident takes place and the police are not complacent in preventing the illegal activities. Their complicity, if any, also needs to be investigated," Mr. Singh noted, marking the May 7 order to the "Worthy Commissioner of Police".

The court also said that the sequence of events, as described by the police themselves in the FIR, showed that the last 6 p.m. Hanuman Jayanti procession did not have the required permission even though the two processions held before that did. "If that was the situation, then the contents of the FIR itself show that the local staff of the Jahangirpuri police station, led by Inspector Rajiv Ranjan as well as other officials from DCP reserve were accompanying the said illegal procession on its route instead of stopping it. It appears that the local police instead of performing their duty in stopping the said illegal procession in the beginning itself and dispersing the crowd, were accompanying them to the entire route which later on led to unfortunate riots between the two communities," the court noted in its order.

After the communal violence in Jahangirpuri on April 16, the Delhi police crime branch has been investigating the case and has so far arrested 33 people and apprehended three juveniles.

Police issue statement

Hours after the court order was made public, the Delhi police issued a statement on Sunday explaining why the police officials accompanying the illegal procession did not immediately disperse it.

The Delhi police PRO said, "In this regard, it is stated that the police have a prime and very focused responsibility of maintaining law and order in the area. If any situation erupts, then the police have to see to it that the situation doesn’t worsen and that’s the reason adequate policemen were there. As the crowd had already gathered for religious procession and dispersing them forcefully could have led to law and order problem."

The police added that as soon as the clashes broke out, they "controlled the situation in minimum possible time and ensured no casualty took place" .

Moreover, the police said they acted in accordance with the law when it came to the illegal procession by registering a case under Section 188 of the IPC against those who organised it, proceedings in which are underway.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 6:59:17 am |