[Delhi Riots] “Objective was to harm Hindus”: Delhi Court frames charges against Former AAP Councilor Tahir Hussain and 7 others

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A Delhi Court has framed charges against Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Councilor Tahir Hussain, his brother Shah Alam and six other men in a case related to the North-East Delhi Riots 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pulastya Pramachala of the Karkardooma District Court, Delhi, on Saturday, framed charges against Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Councilor Tahir Hussain, his brother Shah Alam and six others in connection with the North-East Delhi Riots 2020.

The court charged all the eight accused persons for offences punishable under Sections Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), 307 (attempt to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 27/30 of the Arms Act.

An FIR was registered in March 2020, at Dayalpur Police Station, on a complaint filed by one of Ajay Goswami’s relatives. Goswami was shot on February 25, 2020, by a rioting mob in Khajuri Khas, Delhi.

Relying on the statements made by the witnesses, ASJ Pramachala observed, “It is also well apparent that this mob kept indulging into the firing of gunshots, pelting of stones, acid and petrol bombs towards Hindus and houses of Hindus. These acts of the mob make it clear that their objective was to harm Hindus in their body and property to the maximum possible extent. Indiscriminate firing at others makes it clear that this mob consciously wanted to even kill Hindus”.

The court noted that Hussain and the other accused were inciting others and pelting stones at Hindus to teach them a lesson. Accordingly, the court framed charges against Tahir Hussain, Tanvir Malik, Gulfam, Nazim, Kasim, Shah Alam, Riyasat Ali, and Liyakat Ali. However, court discharged, Tanvir Malik and Gulfam from charges under Section 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

ASJ Pramachala noted, “All these things were done to target Hindus. Every member of the mob assembled there, participated in achieving and encouraging others, to target Hindus. Such conduct of the members of this mob shows that they were acting out of a meeting of their mind and with a clear-cut objective in mind, to kill and harm Hindus.”

Advocate Rizwan appearing for Tahir Hussain contended that the statements of the omnipresent public witnesses are identical, as they have been called as witnesses in several other FIRs filed against him. He also claimed that the prosecution used the copy, cut, and paste theory, which appeared to be forged and manufactured statements, to falsely implicate Hussain, casting serious doubt on their credibility.

On the contrary, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Madhukar Pandey appearing for the State argued that the statements given by the eyewitnesses leave no doubt in respect of the roles of Hussain, Shah Alam, Gulfam, and Tanvir. He also contended that the eyewitnesses also saw other accused persons as being active participants in the same mob.

Conclusively, the court held, "In this case, all accused indulged in targeting Hindus and their such acts were prejudicial to the harmony between communities of Muslims and Hindus. They did disturb the public tranquillity as well. Thus, apart from the allegation of instigating others to harm a person from the Hindu community, even on account of indulging in the above-mentioned acts, make an accused liable under this provision. Therefore, all named accused are liable under aforementioned provisions."

Case Title: State v. Mohd. Tahir Hussain and Others.