Northeast Delhi riots: City court delivers first judgment, acquits sole accused in a case

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A Delhi court on Tuesday passed the first judgment in connection with February 2020 northeast Delhi riots cases, acquitting an accused over allegations of rioting, unlawful assembly and dacoity. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, Karkardooma court, observed that the testimonies of the witnesses are in “complete contrast to each other,” and acquitted Suresh Bhatura, the sole accused.

ASJ Rawat further observed that the accused could not be identified, adding that it is a “clear cut case of acquittal.”

The FIR in the case was registered, on written complaint, over an incident which took place on February 25 at shop number 27/5, Main Babarpur Road. The shop was owned by Bhagat Singh who had given it on rent to Asif. As per the complaint, which was filed by Asif, Singh, the shop owner, saw 15-20 rioters coming towards the shop, at around 4pm. It further claimed that the rioters, who were armed with iron rods and sticks, broke into the shop and looted several items, details of which were mentioned in the complaint.

Additionally, Singh, in a statement, alleged that “certain people were inciting” others to damage and loot his shop as it was “owned by a Muslim.” He further alleged that he was “threatened with consequences.” Singh’s statement also stated that he ran to a nearby police chowki, where met beat officer, head constable Sunil, and apprised him of the situation.

On March 9 this year, the court framed charges in this case and prosecution’s arguments began on March 18, ending on March 23. On March 25, the accused, Bhatura, recorded his statement before the court and submitted that he does not wish to lead any evidence in the case. The final arguments were heard on March 30 and the final judgment was to be pronounced on April 12. However, it was deferred due to various reasons.

On February 23 last year, stone-pelting took place between pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protestors at Maujpur in northeast Delhi. A day later, riots broke out in various areas in the region and went on for nearly a week, with 53 people losing their lives.

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