Delhi Riots (1): Violence and mid-night hearing in the High Court of Delhi

Delhi Riots Case: Murder Accused of IB Officer Ankit Sharma Denied Bail by the Court

Since December, people throughout India are protesting against CAA. But in National Capital of Delhi, the violence was erupted between supporters and people who oppose CAA. The article attempt to deal with facts which lead to violence and mid-night hearing in the High Court of Delhi.

Brief facts:

The visit to Delhi is where his main leg of his maiden visit to India begins.[1] When the President of United States President Trump arrived at Delhi on Monday (24th February)  evening, the incident of violence erupted at 1 km from the Jaffarabad Metro Station, where one side of the carriageway had been blocked by anti-CAA protesters on 23rd February 2020.[2] It was followed with pelting of stones on each other, which lead to chaos in the area.  This was followed by the allegation of the women protesters that police thrashed and lathi charged against them when they were marching in support of the ‘Bharat bandh’ called by the Bhim Army, in the Hauz Rani area of south Delhi.

However, things didn’t stop here. Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kapil Mishra reached the Maujpurchowk by around 300 people and staged a sit-in in support of the CAA at 4 p.m. A group of anti-CAA protesters also reached the location. Both groups started shouting slogans. According to the police, both sides threw stones at each other for half an hour, till more police personnel reached the location to control the situation. In that pelting, few people were injured and taken to the hospital. For security reasons, the entry and exit gates of Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur Metro were closed.[3]

Consequences of violence:

Further, the violence took a communal colour and spread into other parts of northeast Delhi as organised groups attacked each other, setting shops and vehicles on fire. Later, a similar incident was reported from Khajuri Khas[4]. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shahdara, Amit Sharma was injured during clashes over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in northeast Delhi on Monday, a senior official said. A head constable was among four people killed and at least 50 others, including several paramilitary and Delhi Police personnel, were injured in the violence[5].

The Curfew under section 144 of CrPC has been imposed at Maujpur, Jaffarabad, Chandbagh and Karawal Nagar, sources from the Delhi police said. Shoot at sight orders in parts of northeast Delhi were also given. As response to this, CBSE postpones exams scheduled for Wednesday in northeast Delhi. The District Administration here has sealed three borders adjoining northeast Delhi and shut down bars and pubs in Ghaziabad, officials said on Tuesday. District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey told PTI that Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the district. CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, blaming BJP’s Kapil Mishra for the violence in northeast Delhi and his open call to forcibly remove protesters from various sites.[6]

Supreme Court reaction:

On the same day, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an application filed by former Chief Information Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah and others seeking lodging of FIRs with regard to the recent violence in Delhi over the amended citizenship law, on next day. The application was mentioned for urgent listing before a Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and Justice K. M. Joseph. In the application, Habibullah, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and social activist Bahadur Abbas Naqvi have also sought direction to authorities to ensure safety of women sitting on protest against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh and other places in the national capital. The application seeks following reliefs:

  • Direct the police to register FIRs on the complaints that have been made in respect of the attacks that started in the evening of 23.02.2020 and which escalated throughout the day of 24.02.2020.
  • Direct that adequate security is provided to ensure the safety of ladies at Shaheen Bagh and other places in Delhi.[7]

Delhi High Court hearing on 25th February:

Subsequently, on 25th February, 2020, social activist Harsh Mander moved to the Delhi High Court, seeking a Special Investigation Team to be constituted to inquire into the instances of violence in the north-east part of Delhi. The petition was heard by the Division Bench of Justice GS Sistani and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani. It is alleged that due to the provocative statements made by BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur Parvesh Verma, assailants linked to these politicians carried out multiple brutal assaults on the unarmed persons who were protesting against the CAA[8]. It was further argued by the petitioner that this incident (Kapil Mishra’s speech) led to a gathering of armed mobs in Maujpur with loud chanting of communal slurs and chanting of ‘Goli Marob Salon Ko’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’, the petition states.[9] The petitioner further argued that FIR should be lodged against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma, and other rioters under sections 147, 148, 149, 153A, 153B, 120B of the Indian Penal Code, as well as, sections 3 and 4 of the Damage To Public Property Act. Their immediate arrest has also been sought.

Midnight hearing by Justice Murlidhar:

On the midnight of 26th February 2020, around 12.30 am, Justice Murlidhar Of Delhi High Court held the plea which seeks to ensure safe passage of victims injured in riots in north easten portion of Delhi.

The plea was for directions to ensure safe passageof seriously wounded victims from Al Hind Hospital in Mustafabad, a small hospital lacking facilities, to GTB Hospital in Dilshad Garden.[10] Under the order of available senior most judge, the bench of two judges was constituted to hear plea, which consist of Justice Murlidhar And Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani. Advocate Suroor Mander explained the dire circumstances of victims trapped in Al Hind Hospital to Justice Muralidhar over phone. The conversation with doctors of the hospital was arranged. The court ordered that:

“The Court at this stage is primarily concerned with ensuring the safety of the lives of the injured and provide immediate medical attention that theyrequire and for that purpose to ensure the safe passage of the injured victims to the nearest available government hospitals. The Court accordingly directs Delhi Police to ensure such safe passage by deploying all the resources at its command and on the strength of this order and to ensure that apart from the safe passage, the injured victims receive immediate emergency treatment, if not at the GTB Hospital, then at the LNJP Hospital or Maulana Azad or any other government hospital[11]“.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje