The Delhi High Court on Monday, 27 September, stated that the 2020 Delhi riots had not occurred spontaneously, but were instead a planned conspiracy to disturb the law and order of the capital city.
""The riots which shook the National Capital of the country in February 2020 evidently did not take place in a spur of the moment, and the conduct of the protestors who are present in the video footage which has been placed on record by the prosecution visibly portrays that it was a calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government as well as to disrupt the normal life of the people in the city."" - Delhi High Court
The court, while hearing a bail plea of a person accused of involvement in murder in the riots, observed that the rioters had been forearmed and had disconnected the CCTV cameras in the region where the violence took place – confirming that the riots were a "preplanned and pre-meditated conspiracy."
"The systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras also confirms the existence of a preplanned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city. This is also evident from the fact that innumerable rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas, bats etc. upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials," the court further stated.
What Was the Case?
The bench, comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, was hearing a bail application moved by Mohd Ibrahim, an accused in the case concerning the murder of Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal.
Ibrahim, who has been in judicial custody since his arrest in December 2020, argued in his bail application that there was no CCTV footage that could confirm his presence at the site of the crime. The bail plea further stated that Ibrahim had carried a sword only for the purpose of self-defence.
The bail plea also said that "the Petitioner herein has never participated in the protest or in the riots at any point of time."
The high court denied bail to Ibrahim, observing that evidence gathered from multiple CCTV footages had evinced that the petitioner had carried a sword, which was, prima facie, a "dangerous weapon."
""This Court is of the opinion that even though the Petitioner cannot be seen at the Scene of Crime, he clearly was a part of the mob for the sole reason that the Petitioner had consciously travelled 1.6 kms away from his neighbourhood with a sword which could only be used to incite violence and inflict damage."" - Delhi High Court
"This Court has previously opined on the importance of personal liberty in a democratic polity, but it is to be categorically noted that individual liberty cannot be misused in a manner that threatens the very fabric of civilised society by attempting to destabilise it and cause hurt to other persons," the high court said in its judgment.
The communal clashes in the national capital in February 2020 had led to the death of 53 people. Hundreds were injured, and property worth crores was destroyed in the violence.
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