2020 Delhi Riots: Charges Framed Against 13 Accused For Rioting, Criminal Conspiracy And Attempt To Murder

The 13 accused in the 2020 Delhi Riots have been framed for charges that include rioting, criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder by a Delhi Court today.

A scene from 2020 Delhi riots

A Delhi court has ordered the framing of charges, including those for rioting, criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder, against 13 accused in a case of the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.

Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing a case against 13 men, who were accused of being a part of a riotous mob that attacked the complainant with swords and other weapons in Gautam Vihar on February 25, 2020.

The judge said there was a "prima facie case" against all accused persons for the offences of criminal conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly, attempt to murder and disobedience to public servant’s order.

"Head is a vital part of the body and it is within the common knowledge of every prudent person that any blow over the same can result in death...With such knowledge, if a person is assaulted on head more than once, with a weapon like a sword as well as blunt objects, then there cannot be any doubt that a case for an offence under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder) would be made out," the judge said in an order passed on June 3.

Noting the evidence before the court, including CCTV footage and statements of witnesses, the judge said, "I do find that all the accused persons in this case formed an unlawful assembly with a common object, including the object to attack upon persons from Hindu Community."

A criminal conspiracy was hatched by them to achieve this common object and subsequently, the mob chased and attacked the complainant, the judge said.

ASJ Pramachala said courts recognise there is little chance of getting direct evidence of a conspiracy and so they make inferences on the basis of the conduct of the accused persons and the probable reason behind such conduct.  

"The kind of slogan and kind of choice of person to assault adopted by these persons leave a clear impression that this mob was there to target persons from Hindu community," the judge said.

He said assembling in a lane and arranging weapons cannot be assumed to be a "momentary development" and such preparations along with the conduct of the members of the mob, showed "they were acting out of a prior meeting of their mind and with a clear-cut objective in mind, to harm Hindus in every possible manner."  

The complainant was only a victim of the actions taken in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy to kill any person from the Hindu community, the judge added.

The court rejected the argument of the defence that some of the accused were bystanders.

"It is also not acceptable that just because some accused are not seen in the footage showing assault upon the complainant, they were not part of this group/mob," the court said.

It also said the test identification parade (TIP) is a matter of prudence and additional safeguard for the prosecution’s case and its absence cannot be sought by the accused as a ground for discharge.  

The court also said eight of the accused were also liable to be tried under IPC section 174 A (non-appearance in response to a proclamation).

The New Usmanpur police station had registered an FIR against Mohammed Anas, Mobin, Mohammed Javed Khan, Faisal, Shahjad Khan, Shoaib Khan, Imran Khan, Badshah Khan, Irfan Khan, Siraj Khan, Arman, Aman and Iqbal Khan in connection with the case.