The Karkardooma Court on Wednesday acquitted 10 Muslim men accused in the 2020 northeast Delhi pogrom case of alleged arson, trespass, and setting shops on fire, maintaining that the charges against them were not proven beyond a doubt.
The additional sessions judge, Pulastya Pramachala in the verdict, emphasised that the accused are ‘entitled to the benefit of doubt’ until evidence of their presence in the mob is found.
The case was related to the burning of a shop in Bhagirathi Vihar on 25 February, 2020, during 2020 anti-Muslim pogrom which killed more than 50, mostly Muslims.
The court while acquitting the Muslim men marked that the statements given by the three eye-witnesses in the case – the complainant, his son, and his nephew, did not match the version of the prosecution.
Moreover, the police witnesses were noted to be ‘unstable’ with their testimonies about the identification of the accused.
The court noted, “Forgetting a fact is much different from wrongly asserting a fact. Without having knowledge of a fact, one cannot assert it…I find the accused persons to be entitled to the benefit of doubt.”
The investigating officer of the case was also directed by the court to handle the cases related to the riots with the utmost attention and to conduct thorough investigations.
Earlier this week, the same men were acquitted in another case related to the violence.
Maulana Niaz Ahmed Farooqui, legal affairs in charge of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) told Maktoob, “These young Muslim men were falsely implicated and now acquitted with dignity after three years as they are proven innocent and no evidence is found to prove that they were a part of the violent mob that evoked riots.”
“It was a known reality since 2020 that they were innocent as they are the ones who bore the brunt of the violence, their homes were set on fire, their shops were looted, and their family members were killed, how can they carry out a riot being subjected by the same violence?”, asked Farooqui.
He further said, “These individual deserve compensation for all their loss of property, dignity, and time.”
“Jamiat’s efforts that have resulted in bail for 584 individuals and the acquittal of 45 individuals in connection with the Delhi riots. Presently, 258 cases are actively being pursued in Delhi Court, while 209 cases remain pending,” reads a statement from JUH.
Most of the acquitted individuals, including Muhammad Tahir, Rashid, Shoaib, Shahrukh, Muhammad Faisal, Rashid (Monu), Ashraf Ali, and others, were represented in court by Advocate Mohammad Saleem Malik and Advocate Abdul Ghaffar from the legal team of JUH.