Not for the first time, a Delhi court has chastised Delhi Police over its handling of the February 2020 communal violence in the northeastern part of the city.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav dismissed the Delhi Police’s revision petition against an October 2020 order of the court in which police had been directed to register an FIR based on one Mohammad Nasir’s complaint. Nasir had alleged that he had suffered a gunshot injury in his eye when rioters attacked him.
Judge Yadav has also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Bhajanpura police station’s station house officer and his supervising officers and noted that “police have miserably failed in their statutory duties” in the case, reported Indian Express.
The Delhi court also says that police has sought to create a “defence for the accused persons named in Nasir’s complaint”.
The investigation in case FIR No.64/2020 “has been done in a most casual, callous and farcical manner,” the order, quoted by The Quint, reads.
The judge has also sent the order to the Delhi Commissioner of Police in order for him to note the lacunae in investigation and supervision on the matter and so that he can take remedial action.
The Delhi Police have faced several accusations of bias and complicity in the riots.
In his complaint, Nasir had mentioned that a mob led by Naresh Tyagi, Shubhash Tyagi, Uttam Tyagi and Sushil had perpetrated the injuries on him during the riots. A report by The Quint had established close links between the named and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“All the members of the mob were raising slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and were lighting fire on houses/shops of Muslims and were also attacking them with pistols and petrol bombs… After being shot when the complainant (Nasir) reached near his home, his father and brother saw him and got worried and called 100 number thrice in order to call for PCR (police control room) but the police department did not help them,” Nasir’s complaint, submitted on March 19, 2020, had alleged.
He had also informed the police that he was allegedly receiving death threats from Naresh over the complaint. On July 3, Nasir had sent a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (north east) for protection under the Delhi Witness Protection Scheme, but alleged in court that he had received no help.
On October 27, 2020, Metropolitan Magistrate Richa Manchanda directed the Bhajanpura Police Station SHO to lodge the case within 24 hours of receiving the order and file a status report by November 25.
In court, police claimed that an FIR had already been filed noting that Nasir and six more people had suffered gunshot injuries and that no “evidence was found against the persons named by Nasir,” according to Indian Express.
“The police also said Naresh and Uttam were not even present in Delhi at the relevant time and Sushil was present in his office,” the report notes.
Nasir, represented by advocate Mehmood Pracha, said that several offences spanning two days, February 24 and 25, had been clubbed in that FIR. The court, in its July 13, 2021, order also recognised this and noted that the alleged assault on Nasir took place on February 24 in North Ghonda while the other attacks took place on February 25 at Maujpur, and these could not be clubbed in the same FIR.
In April 2021, the same judge had observed that the Delhi Police’s senior officers have displayed a “complete lack of supervision” and that the practice of clubbing several FIRs into one has been used to “protect the accused” in the riots.
Judge Yadav also noted how Section 307 of IPC (shooting with an intention to kill) and Section 25 of Arms Act had not been invoked while registering the FIR even though several people had received – in a fact acknowledged by the police – gunshot wounds.
Judge Yadav also made note of the fact that the case diary mentions a lack of eye witness in Nasir’s case, even though the medico-legal case file clearly showed his address.
The court, according to The Quint, also said that Nasir, was ‘free to exhaust his remedies available to him in accordance with law” to get a separate FIR registered in respect to his complaint.