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Delhi Violence: Police Books People Using Same Narrative, Different FIRs

For instance, the case plot in 5 FIRs filed at Dayalpur Police Station under the Arms Act, 1959, is the same. The only differences are names of the complainant and the place where the police claimed they spotted the accused.
Delhi Riots and Police Role

New Delhi: Almost following a pattern, first information reports (FIRs) filed in a certain template with glaring loopholes are the prominent features found in the cases of violence in North-East Delhi – the riots ended three weeks ago.  A large number of FIRs have been filed against unidentified people under severe sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and people are allegedly being arrested “arbitrarily” and framed in these cases. 

For instance, the case plot in FIR numbers 0066/2020, 0067/2020, 0068/2020, 0069/2020 and 0070/2020, filed at Dayalpur Police Station in East-Delhi under the Arms Act, 1959, is the same. The only differences are names of the complainant and the place where the police claimed they spotted the accused.

In FIR number 66, the complainant — Piyush, a constable — said he was deployed at Brijpuri  with Rohit, another constable, as part of “arrangement duty” on February 27, when Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was imposed. Piyush said that at around 3 p.m., he spotted a “suspicious” man who was hiding behind a vehicle parked at Nala Road. As soon as he saw the police party, said the complainant, the man turned and moved quickly. 

“I and Constable Rohit stopped the man and questioned him. He identified himself as Md Sohib (a resident of Jaffrabad), aged 22. Upon frisking his body, we seized a loaded country-made pistol from his possession,” said the complaint based on which the FIR was registered against the accused under Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.

Same story has been narrated in next FIRs with slight changes. In his complaint mentioned in FIR number 67, Constable Subash said he along with Constable Sunil was deployed as part of “arrangement duty” on February 27 in Chand Bagh where prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr.PC. was in place.

“When we reached Chand Bagh Nala Road ar around 05:45 pm, I saw a suspicious man who was hiding by the side of a closed betel leaf kiosk. After spotting a police party, he turned back and started moving fast. We stopped him and quizzed him. He identified himself as Shahrukh (a resident of Nehru Vihar, Dayalpur), aged 22. On frisking, we found a loaded country-made pistol with him,” he said in the complaint, which was converted into the FIR registered under sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.

FIR number 69, registered under Section 25 of the Arms Act based on the statement of Constable Ashok, also has the same content. Ashok mentioned that he along with Constable Gyan Singh was deployed at New Mustafabad to discharge “arrangement duty”. Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in the area on February 27.

“A suspicious man was standing at Sanjay Chowk, New Mustafabad at around 08:55 pm. As he spotted the police party, he turned back and began moving ahead. It created a doubt and we stopped him and asked his name and address. He identified himself as Athar (a resident of Bhagirathi Vihar), aged 23 years. A country-made pistol with a live round was recovered from his possession,” his statement said.

A similar case is found in FIR number 70, filed based on the statement of Constable Chaman. The constable, in his complaint, said that and a colleague were present in Tukmirpur, which falls under Dayalpur police station, as part of the “arrangement duty” as prohibitory orders (Section 144) were in place in the area.

“At around 09:25 pm, we reached Takmirpur Government School, near Nehru Vihar. We spotted a suspicious man hiding there. As he saw the police party, he turned and started moving from there. We stopped and interrogated him. He revealed his name as Faiz Ahmed (a resident of Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, New Mustafabad) aged 30. We seized from right side of his waste. He told us that he had come there to terrify people by firing bullets (sic),” he said in his complaint.

In total, there are 21 accused in FIR numbers 57, 58, 66, 67, 68 69 and 70.

NewsClick accessed 21 FIRs filed at Khajuri Khas, Bhajanpura, Dayalpur, Gokalpuri and Seemapuri police stations of North-East Delhi. Communal riots in the Trans Yamuna regions of the national capital, began on Sunday, February 23. 

Going by all the FIRs filed under different sections of the IPC, the Arms Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the narration of sequence of incidents appears more than similar. A majority of the FIRs have been filed against unidentified people and there are allegations that the police are conducting biased probe and implicating innocents belonging to a particular community.

Advocate Abdul Ghaffar, who is representing the accused in Karkardooma Court, said the police is not carrying out a fair investigation. “Members of a particular community, who are victims, are being targeted. People are informing their family members that they are being picked up at random locations. When they file a missing person complaint, the cops reveal the arrests. Lawyers are being denied access to their clients at police stations. Those who go to the police station are being taken into custody and being framed. There are hundreds of unnamed FIRs, which are serving the purpose of the police,” he said.

Asked about the contents of the FIRs NewsClick accessed, he said they are concocted stories but that the problem was the court was also taking the prosecution theory as gospel truth, instead of fixing accountability.

“An incident of stone pelting was going on at two chaurahas near Dayalpur police station. Those who were caught between the rioting mob somehow entered the police station to take refuge. Instead of escorting them to safer locations, the police detained, tortured and later arrested them,” he alleged.

However, senior police officials rubbished the charges, terming them “baseless” and “non- sense”. “We are identifying people based on the video footage we have and taking appropriate action against the culprits. Only those, against whom we have strong evidence, have been arrested,” said an officer, who did not wish to be identified.

The violence that began over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and the proposed National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) in North-East Delhi killed 53 people. Over 500 people suffered injuries in the targeted violence that began on February 23 and lasted till February 26, though sporadic incidents were reported on February 27 and the next day as well. The Delhi Police faced severe criticism for failing to control the violence and of allegedly being complicit in certain areas too.

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