"Gulfisha Fatima prompted attack on police with weapons, having cascading effect leading to riots": Delhi Court rejects Bail

Read Time: 21 minutes

While rejecting bail of UAPA accused Gulfisha Fatima, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat has stated that allegations against her are prima facie true & that it has reasonable grounds to reject her bail application.

The Court has found that Gulfisha was present in North East Delhi at the time of Riots and as per witness statements, she was the one who started the blockade and prompted attack on police personnel and others with weapons like dande, Lal-mirch powder and others in Jafrabad area which had a "cascading effect leading to riots".

Main operative part of order:

  • Accused Gulfisha Fatima was the one who as part of the conspiracy received women protesters at Seelampur, Jafrabad coming from Jahangir Puri to initiate the violence.
  • Gulfisha was also present at a midnight secret meeting on 16/17.02.2020 at Chand Bagh for chakka­jam. She is also involved in the incident of 22.02.2020 at Jafrabad Metro Station.

  • There are also messages in DPSG (Whatsapp) group revealing the stock piling and distribution of mirchi­ powder and other weapons and about what the Pinjra Tod was saying.

  • A look at the statement of protected witnesses under Section 164 Cr.P.C, show sufficient incriminating material against the present accused.

Court rejected the argument that Anti CAA/NRC protests were being held across India, adding that the present case is in Delhi and the riots of "horrendous scale" happened in the capital and that it is not a mere coincidence that in one of his speeches, Sharjeel Imam makes a mention of Delhi being the capital of India & "gives an illustration that if even a flyover collapses, the whole world will know of it", adding that Donal Trump was to visit on 24th February and subsequently riots broke out on the same day.

Court analyses Witness statements to establish prima facie case for rejection of bail:

The Court has found that a protected witness BEETA had stated that various persons attended the protests and he has detailed the events around December 28, 2019 about protest sites, wherein one Amanullah said that they would soon start Jamia Awareness Campaign Team against CAA/NRC in muslim prominent areas wherein continuously meetings started happening. Amanullah had then said that a chakka jam would take place in coordination with Pinjra Tod, which happened on December 23, 2019 at all protest sites.

"He realized that entire protest has been done in a planned manner. Pinjra Tod alongwith others had done it in a planned manner due to which people have died, property burnt and damaged. They used to give provocative speeches. Mehmood Pracha used to come at protest site and used to say that he will provide the legal support."
- Court Order

Court says that protected witness GAMA said that his friend introduced him to his friends including Natasha, Devengana, Gul (According to Court order, Gul is Gulfisha Fatima) and Tasleem & with them he would go to protest sites where Umar Khalid would give "provocative speeches".

"Road block was planned by Sohail and others alongwith Gul. It was also decided to assemble ladies and children and they were asked to get red­chilly, dande, pathar, lathi to be used when required"
- Court order

Protected witness ECHO said that Gulfisha and Devangana Kalita along with Prima Roy were protesting at Seelampur where Gulfisha told the women to "bring their children along so that police is not able to take any action and if police was to take action, then because of children, they would get sympathy". The witness has stated that Gulfisha had told protestors that "speech will not work" and they "will have to spill blood" as "Government is against muslims".

"Gul started asking women to bring Lal Mirch powder, dandey, acid bottles. She also stated code words like 'kal eid hai', 'kal Nainital jana hai' which means that road block karne chalna hai and ' aaj chand raat hai' which means today is road block's night. These code words were known to the women and girls there only."
- Court Order

Another protected witness said that at the protest site, there were provocative speeches and slogans by Gul and Umar Khalid.

"There was some code words like 'Eid per Nainital jana hai' which means 'road block karna hai'; 'aaj chand raat hai' and also gave provocative speeches like 'aandolan khoon maangta hai'."
- Court Order

Protected witness SMITH stated that Gulfisha had organised the protest and her along with Devangana, Natasha, Tasleem and other girls used to instigate local women of Seelampur­Jafrabad to come outside. They used to tell people if they would not have documents with them then they alongwith their families will be sent to detention centre.

"Local ladies pelted stones on people who were struck there due to which Hindu­Muslims riots started. Riots also started across Yamuna between Hindu­Muslims resulted killing of innocent people. They are very dangerous people and his name may be kept secret," the witness statement added.

Defence Counsel negated order of Supreme Court while arguing on parity:

Court said that the defence counsel had argued vehemently that Gulfisha must be treated at parity with Devengana, Natasha and Asif Iqbal Tanha as they had been granted bail, but the effect of the order had been stayed by the Supreme Court.

“......not only is the counsel negating the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India granting stay of the order of bail dated 15.06.2021 of the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, but also asking this Court to essentially follow the High Court order,
In the meantime, the impugned judgment shall not be treated as a precedent and may not be relied upon by any of the parties in any of the proceedings,"
Court noted.

Court breaks down chargesheet:

The Court has stated that the disconnection of all 26 functional cameras on 25 footage road, Chand bagh and mustafabad area showed large scale mobilisation of rioters prior to disconnection. 

It is stated that the same was purposely done to carry out the riots in the Chand Bagh area and it actually happened. Court has noted that within 10 minutes of the final camera being dislocated, one of the major casualty of the riots was the death of Ratan Lal and injuries to various police personnel including DCP Shahdara took place on the road on which the rioters descended. "This was also captured in Video footage," ASJ Amitabh Rawat states.

Concerted and pre-planned effort to mobilise chakka Jam and brutalised attack on police

The Court is of the opinion that as per the chargesheet, an analysis of 33 CCTV Cameras of Chand Bagh and Mustafabad and 43 cameras of predominantly non-muslim areas in Delhi, it is apparent that not only were the riots "premeditated and pre-planned" but also began when the muslims living in Chand Bagh and Mustafabad area were mobilised and came out of the lanes and by-lanes in areas having mixed population, in order to put into effect a violent chakka jam and brutalised attack on police personnel and non-muslim community. It is stated in the order that at the same time, footages at the placed inhabited by non-muslim communities showed life to be tranquil.

In this context, the Court is of the opinion that the conspiracy is spelt out on the charge-sheet and the footages filed by the prosecution does in fact, show a concerted and premeditated effort of mobilisation of rioters who are armed and who ultimately blocked the Wazirabad road and attacked the police personnel in the most brutal manner.

"Accused Mohd. Saleem Khan is seen in the mobilisation carrying a stick like thing and dislocating the camera. His presence in the entire footage of the entire area where armed people are calculatingly moving forward towards the main road for nefarious end of rioting shows his involvement and design"
- Delhi Court

It is stated that after the riots began on 24th February 2020, Umar Khalid called Natasha Narwal, Nadeem Khan called Khalid Saifi, Nadeem Khan Called Umar Khalid, Rahul Roy called Umar Khalid, who called Meeran Haider. Nadeem Khan called Khalid Saifi and then all of these people - Khalid Saifi, Nadeem Khan, Sabha Dewan, Rahul Roy and Natasha Narwal ultimately reached a common place.

"From the riots that ultimately ensued, it can easily be said that it was not a sudden act but a thought out premeditated act"
- Delhi Court

Stopping ingress & digress, attacking police personnel a "terrorist act"

Court is of the opinion that as per the chargesheet, taken at face value, there was premeditated conspiracy of disruptive chakka jam and a pre-planned protest at 23 different planned sites in Delhi which was to escalate to confrontational chakka jam and incitement to violence and resulting in riots.

"The target was to block roads at mixed population areas an encircle the entire area completely stopping the entry and exit of citizens living there and then creating panic to attack on police personnel by women protestors in front only, followed by other ordinary people engulfing the area into a riots and the same would be covered by definition of terrorist act"
- Delhi Court says on face value, provisions under UAPA attracted

Weapons and execution shows "terrorist act"

The Judge has stated that the weapons used, manner of attack and the destruction caused, shows the Delhi Riots 2020 to be pre-planned as well. This,  the court says is an act which threatens the unity and integrity of India and causes friction in communal harmony and creates terror in any section of the people by making them feel surrounded, resulting in violence is also a "terrorist act".

Click here to access order

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