Muslims turned violent allegedly on suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain's provocation and started pelting stones on the Hindu community, a Delhi court said on Friday while taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed against him for IB official Ankit Sharma's murder during the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February.
The court was however informed that the police has not yet obtained sanction against Hussain and other co-accused in the case from the authorities concerned as required in a sedition case.
Metropolitan Magistrate Purushottam Pathak said that since there is no time frame for obtaining sanction and any delay in proceeding further in the matter will unnecessarily defeat the purpose for which the special courts for trial of the riot cases have been created, the court deems it fit to take cognisance of all the other offences. "I am of the opinion that there is sufficient material on record to take cognisance of the offences alleged to have been committed by accused persons," the judge said in his order.
"IO (investigating officer) has informed that in the present case a letter has been sent to the Competent Authority on June 22 but it was not clear as to how much time it will take for obtaining sanction," the order said. "In this scenario when there is no time frame for obtaining sanction and that any delay in proceeding further in the matter will unnecessarily defeat the purpose for which the special courts for trial of riots cases have been created, I deem it fit to take cognisance of all the offences," it added.
The court directed all the accused to be produced before it on August 28 through video conferencing for further hearing in the case. It said riots took place in a "planned manner" resulting from a "well hatched conspiracy" and it was allegedly abetted by the leader of the mob, accused Tahir Hussain and other co-accused also acted upon. "Accused Tahir Hussain also facilitated them to the rooftop of his building and provided other logistics support with a view that a large scale riots may be there causing the resultant loss to life and the property of the other community.
"Prima facie the accused Tahir Hussain was leading the mob from his house and also from the Masjid near Chand Bagh Pulia on February 24 and 25 and he was instrumental for gathering of the unlawful assembly in conspiracy with accused persons namely Hasee, Nazim, Kasim, Sameer Khan, Anas, Firoj, Jaed, Gulfam and Shoaib Alam, having common intention and unlawful object," the court said. It further said Hussain allegedly provoked and instigated his community, promoting enmity on the grounds of religion between Hindus and Muslims claiming that Hindu people have killed a number of Muslims, set their shops on fire at Sherpur Chowk and they should not let any Hindus go scot free.
"On his (Hussain's) provocation/instigation, the Muslims turned violent and became volatile on February 24 and 25 and started burning shops and pelting stones and petrol bombs on Hindu community and also targeted their houses situated in that locality. "Thereupon, the uncontrolled mob turned into rioters and in process of rioting caught hold of Ankit Sharma and dragged him to Chand Bagh Pulia and caused his death by inflicting multiple injuries using sharp and blunt objects/weapons in a brutal manner and with a view to conceal the evidence, all of them in furtherance of their common intention, threw his dead body in the drain," it said.
In the 50-page charge sheet, Hussain has been named as one of the main accused along with nine others — Anas, Firoj, Javed, Gulfam, Shoaib Alam, Salman, Nazeem, Kasim, Sameer Khan for the murder of Sharma. All the accused are in jail charged with various offences for the killing of Sharma by around 20-25 rioters who were equipped with stones, rod, lathi, knife etc.
The charge sheet said they came from the side of Chand Bagh Pulia, caught hold of him on the instigation of Hussain from the political leader's house and dragged him, beat him to death and threw his body in the drain.His body was fished out the next morning.
The autopsy revealed that there were 51 sharp injuries on his body, the charge sheet said, adding that the way Sharma was killed by the cold blooded rioters has shaken the social fabric of the society and instilled a fear in the minds of the residents of the area. The judge said: "I hereby take cognisance of offence under section 109 (abetment), 114 (abettor present when offence in committed) of Indian Penal Code alleged to have been committed by accused Tahir Hussain.
"Further, I also take cognisance of the offence punishable under section 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house etc), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) alleged to have been committed by accused Tahir Hussain, Haseen, Nazim, Kasim, Sameer Khan, Anas, Firoz, Javed, Gulfam and Shoaib Alam and sections of Arms Act against accused Haseen and Nazim." The offences entail a maximum punishment of death penalty. Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.