New Delhi: “Caller Hindu h aur Hindu logon ne ek Muslim ki bike me aag laga di hai jo usko bhi jalane wale h Muslim naali men kood gaya hai”. (The caller is a Hindu. Hindus have set a Muslim man’s bike ablaze. They were also going to set him on fire, and he jumped into the drain)
This call made to the PCR (police control room) during the communal violence in North-East Delhi in February this year — according chargesheets related to the murders of three men — has led the investigators zero in on one of the important eye-witnesses who revealed how a mob carrying weapons identified and killed Muslim men and threw their bodies in a drain at Bhagirathi Vihar.
The three chargesheets, related to the murder of Hamza (FIR No. 102/20), Bhure Ali aka Salman (FIR No. 104/20) and Aamin (FIR No. 103/20) mention the PCR call first made at 22:05 hours on February 26 wherein the caller informed the cops about a Muslim man’s bike being set on fire and the man jumping into the drain to escape the attackers.
Twenty minutes after his first call, the caller once again dialled the police at 22:25 hours the same day to say: “Yahan par Musalmano ko mara ja raha hai aur bike me aag laga di (Muslims are being killed and bikes are being set on fire).”
Recorded under 161 CrPC, the investigators are considering the disclosure statement of the caller, whom they have identified as a resident of Ganga Vihar, as a key piece of evidence to bring the culprits to book.
The man, in his detailed statement, which is annexed with the chargesheet, told the police that while returning home from office on February 24, at around 6:30-7 p.m, he was “accosted by the rioters at Ganga Vihar”.
“While applying the brake, his bike slipped and he fell down. He was surrounded by the rioters. When he got up, he found his bike was missing. He searched for the bike around the place but could not find it. He made another PCR call at 21:45 hours on February 24, and thereafter went to Gokalpuri police station, but his complaint could not be lodged as the situation was grim and the officials told him to come the next day,” says the chargesheet, based on his statement.
The next day (February 25), he again went to the police station to report his bike theft, but the police did not lodge his complaint.
While returning home from Gokalpuri police station at 4 p.m, “he saw a large mob carrying stones, cudgel, sticks, swords, and iron rods, etc, on Johripur Pulia, shouting slogans like ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’. They were checking identity of persons and if any Muslim was found, they were beating and throwing bodies in the naala (drain) after killing them. Most in the mob were wearing a helmet or had their faces covered,” states the chargesheet.
Since he could not go to his office on February 26 “due to the riots”, the eyewitness said he went to the Bhagirathi Vihar drain in search of his bike at around 9.30 p.m and “saw that the mob had stopped a person coming from Loni”.
“After establishing his Muslim identity, they killed him with stones, cudgel, sticks, swords, and iron rods and threw him in the naala. Thereafter, the mob stopped two persons riding an Apache bike. The mob, after establishing their identity, killed both the persons and threw them in the naala. The mob killed several others after confirming their religious identity,” the chargesheet says.
He, as per the chargesheet, could identify a few “persons in the mob”. These were Lokesh Rajput, Pankaj, Himanshu, Prince, Jatin, Rishabh, Monti Nagar, Avdhesh Mishra, Monu, Sumit aka Badshah and Ankit Fauji. They were leading the mob and giving directions to associates by “calling their names”. “He knows all of them very well, being from the same area. Thereafter, he left the place for his home and called on PCR No.100 twice,” the chargesheet states.
Police have also relied on the disclosure statements of two other eyewitnesses, who gave similar details of what transpired. On one of the witnesses, the chargesheet states, “After seeing these incidents, he was in fear and did not report them to anyone. Later, he thought he should report these incidents to the police.”
Aamin was killed and thrown in a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar’s C-block around 9.30 p.m on February 25, when he was coming from Brijpuri Puliya on foot. On February 26, around 10.30 a.m, Bhure Ali was killed and thrown at the same spot as Aamin. And on February 26, around 9.15 p.m, Hamza was killed and thrown in a drain in E-block, while he was coming from Mustafabad.
Police have named nine accused in the murders — Lokesh Solanki (19), Pankaj Sharma (31), Ankit Chaudary (23), Prince (22), Jatin Sharma (19), Himanshu Thakur (19), Vivek Panchal (20), Rishab Chaudary (20) and Sumit Chaudhary (23).