Sitaram Yechury, Yadav Not Accused In Delhi Riots: Police Clarifies

Delhi Police's clarification came post PTI report that political leaders like Yechury and Yadav were named co-conspirators

The Delhi Police have clarified that Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh, documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy and Delhi University (DU) professor Apoorvanand have not been named as co-conspirators in the Delhi riots probe.

The police clarification came after PTI reported that "some of those named have also been charged with — based on the statements of three students already arrested in the case — asking the protesters to go to "any extreme", spreading "discontent" in the community by calling CAA/NRC anti-Muslim, and organising demonstrations to "malign the image of Government of India"."



Those named have also issued statements strongly denying any role in the Delhi riots.

According to the Delhi police, the February violence earlier this year was a 'deep-rooted conspiracy' orchestrated by those who opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) in order to malign the country's image before an international platform.

Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal along with DU student Gulfisha Fatima have been accused of conspiring to orchestrate the communal riots that spread across North-East Delhi resulting in the deaths of 53 and injuring hundreds. According to their disclosure statements—which are inadmissible in court—Yechury, Yadav, Ghosh, Roy and Apoorvanand came to protest sites in North East Delhi to "provoke and mobilize" the crowd there.

The Delhi police have relied on these disclosure statements along with statements made to the magistrate by two protected witnesses X and Y along with other audio and visual evidence to file a supplementary charge sheet accusing the three of masterminding the riots.

The supplementary chargesheet—submitted on August 18 but made public just days before the onset of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament—was filed in connection with the death of a 17-year-old Amaan who was a victim of the February violence. In the original chargesheet filed on June 2, the police have accused 12 others including Kalita and Narwal. Fatima was extensively referred to in the chargesheet, but was not made an accused at the time. During the course of the investigation, the police said that Fatima's role surfaced "as one of the main conspirators" and "instigator" of the riots.

The police claim that Kalita and Narwal have disclosed their role as masterminds behind the North-East riots and have accepted their role in the present case as well. All three accused have been named in other FIRs pertaining to the February violence including the one, being probed by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in the larger conspiracy behind the riots.

Though Kalita and Narwal have been named as accused in the original charge sheet, the police did not submit these disclosure statements which were recorded in May. This is the first time, the statements—which they refused to sign—have been added in the chargesheet.

Yet again, the Delhi police chargesheet is silent on the role of BJP leader Kapil Mishra in the Delhi riots. Mishra has been widely accused of delivering provocative speeches on the morning of February 23 shortly before the violence began in the area.

BOOM accessed the supplementary chargesheet to report the Delhi Police findings in the riots probe.

'Will go to any extreme to protest CAA/NRC'

Kalita and Narwal allegedly told the police that "Jaidi (Jayati) Ghosh, Professor Apurva Nand, Rahul Roy had explained that we have to protest against CAA/NRC for which we can go any extreme…". They alleged that Umar Khalid, a former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and now a member of Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organisation (BSASO) and United Against Hate (UAH) "had also given some tips for doing protest against CAA/NRC".

"On the directions of these persons Umar Khalid's United Against Hate Group and JCC (Jamia Coordination Committee & members of our Pinjda Tod together started protest in different parts of Delhi (sic)", the two have reportedly said.

Narwal and Kalita's statements have several grammatical and spelling errors, and are nearly identical to each other. Fatima's statement matches the statements given by the two Pinjra Tod members, though her statement is more detailed.

'Managed to uproot communities, Fatima'

"I was able to uproot and bring two communities face to face, on the guidelines of Natasha and Devangana Kalita and Umar Khalid and others…" Fatima told the police in her disclosure statement. The riots—to "tarnish" the country's image—were orchestrated from February 23 – 26 to coincide with the Delhi arrival of Donald Trump, President of the United States of America.

"Omar Khalid (sic) used to help with money and used to address people in separatist language and provoke that more people joined the strike in early February. The crowd had started growing and according to the plan, big leaders and lawyers started coming in to provoke and mobilize this crowd…", including Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekar Azad, Yadav, Yechury, and advocate Mahmood Pracha…. Incidentally, Pracha is representing Gulfisha in a number of cases in the Delhi riots matter.

'Hate speeches used to poison the mindset of the people'

The Delhi police have stated that the three accused with "their team Jamia Coordination Committee, Pinjra Tod Group other members, DISHA Foundation, and other anti-national elements delivered hate speeches to poison the mindset of the common people and they instigated protesters to come on road."

The police say that Kalita and Narwal relied on their status as PhD scholars to "create faith in the common public." The two JNU scholars flaunted their knowledge of the law and government activities suggesting that it "was the right time to save themselves and come out for strong protest (against CAA/NRC)."

"The three accused belong to high class educated society and they performed all the having knowledge that their acts may damage the social structure and communal harmony of society, as well as peace and tranquility of National Capital Territory," the supplementary chargesheet read. Kalita and Narwal tried to "gain the confidence of local public" by selecting "local influential people of the area to influence the local public for executing their plan to create law and order situation in the area. That's how they met Gulfisha," the police said.

The three accused were "active in the area along with their group of friends which is called 'Pinjdra Tod Group' (sic) in the North-East Muslim areas" since the CAA was passed in December. The accused in "malafide and planned calculative way to instigate the Muslim ladies by misleading facts against CAA and NRC. Their sole purpose was to disturb the peace and law and order in the country and defame the Govt. of India on international platform (sic)," the police said.

Conspirators used code to communicate

In this probe, two independent "protected witnesses" deposed before the magistrate that the three accused "used code words within their group members regarding to convey secret messages regarding further line of their protest/riot in front of common people (sic)".

Y said that that the accused not only gave "hate speeches at Jafrabad Metro Station" but were "continuously present there till last".

"In the last week of January 2020, Umar Khalid had participated in a private meeting at the office near protest site" where the three accused "were present there". Umar Khalid allegedly told them that "only speeches were not sufficient now" and that the government is "against Muslim". "Khoon Bahana Padega, Aise Nahi Chalega, Chakka Jaam Hi Akhri Rasta Hai, Hame Sarkar Ko Ghutno Ke Bal Laana Hi Hoga, Sanghiyon Ki Sarkar Aise Nahi Maanegi (We will have to spill blood, this will not do, Chakka Jam is our last hope to bring the government to its knees. The Sanghi Sarkar will not listen to us otherwise)," Umar Khalid had reportedly said during the meeting.

Not enough evidence

On September 1, two weeks after the supplementary chargesheet was filed, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Kalita. The high court noted that the police had failed to show how Kalita instigated "women of a particular community or gave hatred speech due to which precious life of a young man has been sacrificed and property damaged."


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