‘RSS people have come here in support’: Delhi pogrom chargesheet cites a Hindu rioter

(AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

In excerpts of chats of the WhatsApp group by Hindu rioters “Kattar Hindut Ekta”, filed in a supplementary chargesheet before a Delhi court against nine accused of killing a Muslim, one of the members claimed that Hindu militant organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members had come to support them.

In the chat extract, police affixed a message of a Hindu rioter named Binni, from February 25, which reads: “Bhai RSS ke log agaye hai yahan support mein (Brother, RSS people have come here in support).”

Earlier, members and post-headers of the same Hindu group RSS were arrested on charges of murder, rioting, rioting armed with deadly weapons, being part of an unlawful assembly, and criminal conspiracy. In June 2020, a chargesheet had been filed by police against 16 RSS members in the murder case of a realtor Mohammad Parvez (48) during the riots.

The supplementary chargesheet has been filed before chief metropolitan magistrate Purushottam Pathak on September 26 in connection with an FIR registered at Gokulpuri police station on February 27 and the FIR relates to the murder of Hashim Ali, a resident of Mustafabad.

Hashim Ali is one of at least nine Muslim men waylaid and murdered by the Hindu rioters near Bhagirathi Vihar over three days. While the chargesheet deal specifically with the murders of Hashim Ali, police say the members targeted others and “killed nine innocent Muslims persons including Hashim Ali and his brother Aamir Khan.”

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 has said in the supplementary charge sheet that the WhatsApp group “Kattar Hindut Ekta” (extremist Hindu unity) promoted enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and acted in a way which was prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony,

According to the chargesheet, Whatsapp group members used anti-Muslim slurs and talked about vandalising madrasas, mosques, and killing of Muslims.

“We will burn everything of theirs (Muslims) like we burned the madrasa today” and “Do not leave them (Muslims), kill them” are some of the messages sent by the group members, according to the chargesheet.

“As per the chat of Whatsapp group, the accused persons… conspired to teach Muslims a lesson for attacking the Hindus. Equipped themselves with lathis. danda, sticks, swords, firearms etc and killed nine innocent Muslims persons including Hashim Ali and his brother Aamir Khan. It is prima facie revealed that there was a well hatched conspiracy amongst the accused persons,” it reads.

Police further said in the chargesheet: “Same is also evident from the fact that in order to take revenge from Muslims some youths of that area who failed to perceive the bottomless stupidity of the propaganda, they as saviours of their community created a Whatsapp group. The group members lost their individuality and started working with mob mind. ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ which are the sacred slogans and are attached to the victorious yelling, deaden their mind and paralyzed their creative nature. They planned the manner of committing offence of rioting, murder and other offences…,”

According to the police, “During the investigation and from the report of retrieving data of seized mobile phones revealed that the above mentioned report/result of Whatsapp group ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’, group, it is also clear that there are averments in respect of promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and acting in a way that are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.”

The nine men accused of murder and rioting in the three chargesheets are Lokesh Solanki (19), Pankaj Sharma (31), Ankit Chaudary (23), Prince (22), Jatin Sharma (19), Himanshu Thakur (19), Vivek Panchal (20), Rishab Chaudary (20) and Sumit Chaudhary (23).

The accused Hindu rioters earlier charge sheeted in June for the offences under 144 (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 427 (mischief), mischief by causing inundation or obstruction to public drainage), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of IPC and in the supplementary charge sheet, police has booked them under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly assembling to take revenge against the other community and targeting the victims on the basis of their religious identity.

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.