The Delhi Police Wednesday filed a chargesheet before a city court against 15 persons under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and various sections of the IPC in connection with the northeast Delhi riots in February.
In its chargesheet running into 10,000 pages, the police have listed 747 witnesses and of them, 51 have recorded their statements under CRPC 164 (before the magistrate), news agency PTI reported.
The police also told the court that it has largely relied upon CD-R and WhatsApp chats. Earlier, the police said that they had identified blocking of traffic by anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters as “the first indicator that there was a conspiracy due to which it all started”.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Delhi Police Gazetted Officers Association, which was also attended by Commissioner S N Shrivastava, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwaha was quoted by PTI as saying they had not found any proof yet of the involvement of pro-CAA-NRC protesters.
“When we started investigating the Delhi riots, we first saw all the sites and found a common pattern that traffic jam was started at all the sites simultaneously. It was the first indicator that there was a conspiracy due to which it all started,” Kushwaha had said.
On the role of BJP leader Kapil Mishra and alleged inflammatory speech a day before the riots, the DyCP was quoted as saying that “a narrative is being created that pro-CAA/NRC people were involved in it, but it has not come into the investigation yet.”
Earlier this week, the Delhi Police Special Cell arrested former JNU student leader Umar Khalid in a case registered under UAPA to investigate the alleged “larger conspiracy” behind the riots. Khalid is one of several young activists who have been booked in cases relating to the violence in Delhi in February. The police allege that riots were “pre-planned” by Khalid and others.
Meanwhile, a group of activists released a statement against the “brazenness” of the Delhi Police investigation in the Delhi riots.
Demanding that activists arrested under UAPA be immediately released, the statement said, “The real culprits — who in broad daylight threatened to clear the protest site by force or those who came with guns into protest sites, or those who chanted provocative and violent slogans — remain free. Even all democratic voices of dissent are being gradually implicated,” the statement read.
Over 53 people died and over 200 were injured after communal clashes broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control.
An FIR was registered on March 6, based on information provided by an informer to Sub-Inspector Arvind Kumar according to which Kumar was told by the informer that the violence was a “premeditated conspiracy” and named several people.
The case was later transferred to the Special Cell, which was tasked with investigating a “larger conspiracy” behind the riots.
The unit has since invoked the stringent UAPA against several people including Khalid, Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, who are also part of the WhatsApp group in question.
(Inputs from PTI)