Delhi pogrom: In murder of 2 Muslim brothers, police point to WhatsApp group of Hindutva rioters

The brothers Amir Khan, 28 and Hashim Ali, were beaten to death by a Hindu mob when they were returning to their house in the area on February 26 in the night. Photo: Shakeeb KPA/Maktoob

The Delhi Police on Thursday filed two charge sheets before a Delhi court in connection with the murder of two Muslim brothers during the Northeast Delhi pogrom in February.

Amir Khan, 28 and Hashim Ali, 16, were killed and their bodies were thrown into the Bhagirathi Vihar drain by anti-Muslim rioters. The brothers were beaten to death by a Hindu mob when they were returning to their house in the area on February 26 in the night,

The charge sheet in Hashim’s murder case named nine people; 11 people were booked for his brother Amir’s murder. All 20 people have been charged with IPC 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).

All are presently in judicial custody and their bail applications have been rejected.

The Crime Branch of Delhi police filed both the charge sheets before Metropolitan Magistrate Richa Parihar who has put up the matters for further hearing on June 18.

WhatsApp group with 125 members

The police investigation has found that “during peak rioting, a WhatsApp group was created on the intervening night of February 25 and 26, which has 125 members.”

Some of the active members of the WhatsApp group are Himanshu Thakur, Jatin Chaudhary, Prince Chaudhary, and Ankit, the police identified.

“Two active members of this WhatsApp group were located and joined in the investigation. During the investigation, their mobile phones were scanned and the specific WhatsApp group created on February 25 was also identified. It was revealed that while some members of these groups were only sending and receiving chats, a few others were involved in active rioting.” the police said,” police officials told media.

Grif-stricken family

Maktoob photographer Shakeeb KPA captured the photographs of the grief-stricken mother of Amir and Hashim, Asgari, and their sisters Nagma and Rehna on the funeral day.

Hashim worked in a jeans factory and Aamir was a driver. Aamir has two young daughters – five years and two years old.

On 23 February, Amir and Hashim went to meet their grandmother in Bhopura, Ghaziabad – about eight km from where they lived in North East Delhi’s Old Mustafabad because she hadn’t been keeping well. As the situation turned tense in Old Mustafabad after Hindu mobs unleashed anti-Muslim violence, the brothers stayed on there. On 26 February their father Babu Khan, a tailor, asked them to return as the situation had apparently become normal.

After Babu Khan’s call, though, the family did not hear back from the brothers. When they tried to call them, their phone was switched off. They went to the Dayalpuri police station on 27 February.

“The policemen started showing us photographs of bodies that had been found in the drain that morning. We identified our Aamir and Hashim,” a family member told Maktoob.

The bodies were pulled out from a ditch, one brother has been stabbed, the other has head injures from a blunt object.

Maktoob photographer Shakeeb KPA captured the photographs of the grief-stricken mother of Amir and Hashim, Asgari, and their sisters Nagma and Rehna on the funeral day. A family member said their mother and sisters did not want to speak to anyone and were not able to come to terms with the news.

The Delhi pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been sparked by incendiary comments made by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, about Muslims peacefully protesting against ‘anti-Muslim and unconstitutional’ citizenship law. Video evidence and witness accounts pointed to police allowing Hindu mobs to roam the streets freely to target the Muslim community.

While no action has been taken against Kapil Mishra and other BJP politicians to date, the arrests of Muslim students and activists who were active in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests are being seen by rights activists and opposition leaders as part of the Delhi police’s witchhunt of anti-CAA activists.

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