17,000-Page Delhi Riots Chargesheet Names Only Anti-CAA Protesters

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Delhi riots in Feburary this year left 53 dead, 200 injured and hundreds homeless.

New Delhi:

Fifteen people, all linked to protests against the centre’s controversial new citizenship law and none from the campaign in its favour, have been named by the police in a vast chargesheet filed over the Delhi riots that raged through the capital city in February this year, leaving more than 50 people dead and property worth crores damaged.

The 17,500-page filing in two steel trunks included more than 2,600 pages detailing the charges against the accused and thousands of pages of annexures. Charges include those under the tough anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Among those named are suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain and a number of student activists. The police also said that their investigation in the case is ongoing and it expects to file a supplementary chargesheet against the accused who have not been named so far.

“These conspirators were in direct touch with the foot soldiers that resulted in the riots in North East Delhi in February,” the police told the court, adding two WhatsApp groups were used to engineer the riots in Seelampur and Jafrabad that saw some of the worst violence.

“Conspirators planned the riots while middle ring of leaders at the area level executed the plan through the foot soldiers,” the police said, claiming that students walked some 20 km to participate in the protests.

“This was not a democratic protest since beginning. The very beginning of this protest was for instigating violence,” the police told the court, flagging the “chakka jam” or roadblocks as an undemocratic way of protest and intended at inciting violence.

Communal violence over the centre’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had erupted in Delhi between groups supporting and opposing the law that promised citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring countries, widely seen as discriminatory.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi held meetings with US President Donald Trump just a few kilometres away, parts of the city descended into violence that saw widespread clashes, arson and stone-throwing leaving 53 dead, at least 200 injured and hundreds homeless.

The Delhi Police, which reports to the central government and whose role during the riots is also under scrutiny, has been criticised for arresting only members linked to one side of the clash while contesting reports that claimed that policemen were seen actively helping the other side during the riots.

Among those arrested in the case include left-wing student activists and Tahir Hussain, who opposed the CAA, while those not arrested include BJP’s Kapil Mishra, seen on video standing next to a policeman and threatening to “hit the streets” if the protesters were not cleared.

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