Delhi Riots: Court Frames Charges against 10 for Rioting, Looting

The Court framed charges against 10 accused of unlawful assembly, rioting, looting, and arson among others.

A special court charged 10 men with rioting in a case pertaining to the 2020 Delhi riots after observing that their aim was "to create fear and panic" among the Hindus and compel them to leave the country.

"From the utterances of the rioters comprising the unlawful assembly, as mentioned by these witnesses in their statements, it is limpid that the object of the assembly was to create fear and panic in the minds of the people belonging to the Hindu community, threaten them to leave the country and to loot as well as burn their properties," the order passed on December 13 read.

The court observed that prima facie, at this stage there appeared to be no grounds to disbelieve the version of three witnesses in this case. The witnesses named only those three persons whom they already knew and had seen them in the mob, Additional Sessions Judge Virendra Bhatt observed.

"If they had any intention to falsely implicate any person in this case, they would have taken the names of all the accused and not only of the three accused," the judge added. "This indicates the truthfulness of their statements and makes their statements trustworthy," the order said.

The court's observation came on an FIR registered by Jagdish Prasad who claimed that the rioters burnt his son's auto repair shop during last year's communal violence in North East Delhi. Prasad alleged that on February 25, 2020 an unruly mob broke into his son's auto repair shop, vandalised it and set it on fire.

Also Read: Probe Pending In More Than Half Of The Cases In Delhi Riots: Police to HC

Rioters wanted to create fear among the Hindus

The primary evidence submitted in this present case prima facie indicates that the accused were members of an unlawful assembly who wanted to create fear and panic among the Hindus.

The judge observed that conviction of the accused in this case was "reasonably possible" if the evidence submitted remained "unrebutted". "Thus, there is no escape from the conclusion at this stage that the accused were members of unlawful assembly which resorted to vandalisation, rioting etc. and in the process robbed and set ablaze the workshop belonging to the complainant's son," the judge said rejecting the plea seeking dismissal of charges.

The 10 accused Mohd Shahnawaz, Mohd Shoaib, Shahrukh, Rashid, Azad, Ashraf Ali, Parvez, Md Faisal, Rashid alias Monu and Mohd Tahir have been charged with Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 436 (arson) , 452 (house trespass), 454 (breaking and entering), 392 (robbery), 427 (damage to property) read with Section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The court rejected the defence counsels' argument that the case against the 10 accused was false.

"Prima ­facie, at this stage there does not appear any ground to disbelieve the version of these three witnesses. They have taken the names of only three accused whom they already knew and had seen them in the mob," the Court pointed out.

The Court will formally frame the charges on December 21.

Also Read: Delhi Riots Evidently Pre-Planned, Not Spur Of The Moment: High Court

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