Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Delhi pogrom: Court discharges four Muslim men for lack of proof after 2 years

Shoaib Alam was arrested by Delhi Police on 7 March in 2020, two weeks after a deadly violence against Muslims in northeast Delhi by Hindutva groups.

Alam was arrested in FIR 114/2020 at Khajuri Khas police station and was subsequently booked in two more cases namely FIR 65/2020 at Dayalpur police station and FIR 98/2020 at Khajuri Khas police station.

The third FIR was lodged at Khajuri Khas police station based on the statement of Head Constable Anil Kumar, who was on duty in the violence hit region with other officers to contain the unrest and restore law and order. According to the FIR, a crowd vandalised shops, carts, and a police booth in Bhajanpura, setting fire to them. Several members of the public, as well as police officers, are alleged to have been hurt as a result of the mob’s stone-pelting, the FIR said.

Two years after, on Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat discharged four Muslim youth for lack of proof including Alam.

The four men Anas, Javed, Gulfam and Shoaib Alam who are discharged were arrested on the basis of a disclosure statement of a sole witness Firoz who identified them in video footage.

“There is no other witness, who has either directly or indirectly seen or identified these four accused as members of the unlawful assembly on 24.02.2020,” the court observed.

The court went on to say: “When an unlawful assembly or a large number of persons take part in arson or in a clash between two groups, in order to convict a person, at in order to convict a person, at least two prosecution witnesses have to support and identify the role and involvement of the persons concerned.”

Meanwhile, the court framed charges against six Muslim men Sarfraz, Firoz, Ikram, Mustaqueem, Gulfam @Zubair and Saddam @ Ikrar under sec. 147, 148, 186/l, 188, 332, 353, 427, 436 and 149 of IPC read with sec. 3 and 4 of PDPP Act.

Alam has been in judicial custody since March 2020 and was denied regular bail by a sessions court in August 2020.

Alam’s second bail plea was also rejected by the court in May this year.

Delhi High court in November last year issued notices on the bail plea of Alam in the other two FIRs.

Since then his bail applications are pending and his trial is undergoing in the sessions court.

Advocate Tara Narula and Tamanna Pankaj are representing Alam in all his cases pending in the sessions court and the High court on behalf of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR).

APCR which has been engaged in pro bono litigation since its inception in 2006, is continuously providing legal aid to the survivors of police apathy in the Delhi anti-Muslim pogrom cases for the last two years.

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