A conspiracy to disturb the city’s law and order…The riots in Delhi were non spontaneous: HC

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court, in a bail order issued on Monday, stated that the Northeast Delhi riots “did not occur on the spur of the moment” and that the behavior of protesters as seen in videos demonstrates that it was a calculated attempt to “dislocate the functioning” of the government as well as disrupt city life.

“The systematic disconnection and destruction of CCTV cameras also reveal the existence of a pre-planned and deliberate conspiracy to disrupt law and order in the city,” says the report. “This is also evident from the fact that a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officers was ruthlessly attacked with sticks, dandas, bats, and other weapons,” said Justice Subramonium Prasad in the order, while denying bail to an accused who was arrested last year by Delhi Police for allegedly being a part of anti-CAA protests during which Head Constable Ratan Lal was killed.

During the rally, the accused, Mohd Ibrahim, was allegedly wielding a sword. According to the report describing his injuries, Lal’s death was not caused by the sword, and the accused just carried the sword to protect himself and his family. The court stated that “clinching evidence” points to the accused’s sentence being extended because the weapon he was carrying “is capable of causing grave injury and/or death, and is prima facie a dangerous weapon,” according to the court.

“This Court believes that, although the Petitioner was not seen at the scene of the crime, he was a member of the mob for the sole reason that the petitioner had consciously travelled 1.6 kilometres away from his neighbourhood with a sword that could only be used to incite violence and inflict damage,” Justice Prasad said.

On September 8, Justice Prasad granted bail to five of the defendants, stating that “the solitary act of protesting” cannot be used as a “weapon to justify the arrest” of individuals who exercise this right.

“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 harm to other persons,” the court said in the order issued on Monday.

Three of the defendants in the case have been denied bail, while eight have been granted bail, including one Mohd Saleem Khan, who was granted bail on Monday after 17 months in prison.

On February 24, 2020, the accused were among the demonstrators who gathered around the Chand Bagh neighbourhood and 25 Futa Road, according to police.

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