Delhi Police Probe: Jafrabad Blockade Aimed at Hindu-Muslim Riots

The conspiracy of the masterminds of the riots was to instill poison between communities, Delhi Police claimed.

Updated
India
6 min read
This vehicle was a kind of demarcation between the pro and anti-CAA protesters, during the violence on 24 February, at the Maujpur-Jaffrabad road, in northeast Delhi.
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While till now in several charge sheets accessed and reported by The Quint, Delhi Police has claimed that the chakka jam (blocking of roads) is what led to the riots, in the charge sheet filed under FIR number 50 from Jafrabad, the police has gone a step ahead and said that the purpose of the blockade by the masterminds of the anti-CAA protests was not only to cause a chakka jam but also to 'cause a Hindu-Muslim riot.'

This charge sheet captures the violence that took place at Jafarabad on 25 February, which can be called the epicentre of violence where stone pelting had begun on 23 February, names 12 accused. This includes Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal.

The Quint has been publishing a series of reports on the Delhi Violence Probe, which can be read here.

In this story we bring you the evolving narrative of the Delhi Police’s conspiracy theory behind the Delhi riots, the evidence gathered against the two Pinjra Tod leaders and a particular WhatsApp message that they’re relying on to explain the conspiracy and extent of preparation for causing the riots.
This is a picture from 24 February. While the one on the right is from under the Jafrabad metro station, the one on the left is from Maujpur chowk. Over this one stretch of road, which was about a kilometre, there was constant sloganeering, jeering, teargas shelling and stone pelting on this day.
This is a picture from 24 February. While the one on the right is from under the Jafrabad metro station, the one on the left is from Maujpur chowk. Over this one stretch of road, which was about a kilometre, there was constant sloganeering, jeering, teargas shelling and stone pelting on this day.
(Photo: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

Masterminds Wanted to 'Instill Poison Between Communities'

Unlike earlier charge sheets the police is not even claiming that the Hindu community was retaliating, but stating that it was the plan/agenda of those who were blocking roads to ‘bring both communities face to face’. The investigation also betrays sympathy towards those who were angry that the roads were getting blocked.

For example let's look at what the police has said in the 'CONSPIRACY ASPECT' and 'CHRONOLOGY' sections of the charge sheet.

CONSPIRACY ASPECT

Translated to English:  On 24 May, Natasha Narwal and Devangana were arrested. They said that they are from the Pinjra Tod group and as part of the plan were sitting in protest. On 22 Feb, before the travel of US President, they sat under the Jafrabad metro station. They blocked the road and sat so that those who were from the other community could be instigated, turned against each other and eventually there would be a riot between Hindus and Muslims. Which is what happened. The CDR (call detail records) analysis shows of Natasha and Devangana shows that they both were in touch with India Against Hate group and Umar Khalid and took the riots to its ultimate conclusion.

The night of 22 February, where anti-CAA protesters blocked the Maujpur-Jafrabad main road late night. These women had come from the Seelampur protest site. 
The night of 22 February, where anti-CAA protesters blocked the Maujpur-Jafrabad main road late night. These women had come from the Seelampur protest site. 
(Photo: The Quint)

CHRONOLOGY ASPECT

Here the police explains how thousands of people blocked the Jafrabad road on 22 February night at around 10. Then the next day also they were there, the day when Bhim Army head Chandra Shekhar alias Ravan had called for Bharat Bandh. The movement for the people came to a halt due to which the people were troubled.

  • EXAMPLE 1: Due to which people from the other community, who were troubled due to the blockade of the roads, came ahead to get the roads opened. Due to this both communities came face to face, this was the plan of the conspirators of the riot.
  • EXAMPLE 2: The people from the other community were hassled by the road getting jammed and therefore, came ahead to open the roads. Both communities were now face to face. This was the very conspiracy of the masterminds of the riots. To instill poison between communities and create tension between them.
  • EXAMPLE 3: This was done. This started spreading to other areas and its manifestations seen in the form of violence. On 24/25 Feb US President Donald Trump visit to India is something that the masterminds, they had set the stage for it. This objective was achieved. Then this tension started spreading to other areas of north east Delhi in a violent way.

On The Role of Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita

The two women were arrested for their alleged rile in Jafrabad sit-in protest on Saturday, 23 May. They were both later slapped with the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The two women were arrested for their alleged rile in Jafrabad sit-in protest on Saturday, 23 May. They were both later slapped with the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@MdHamzaSiddiqi1)
While in the ‘CONSPIRACY ASPECT’ portion of the charge sheet, Delhi Police has relied on what Narwal and Kalita have told them, the police is yet to submit evidence against the two in this case.

They’re both number 11 and 12 in the list of accused.  While they've said that the investigation against the two is still on, there is one statement of an accused that directly mentions them.

This is accused seven, Shahrukh Khan, who was arrested on 3 March. The police says that he took Narwal and Kalita's name. Other than naming the two, Shahrukh Khan can allegedly be seen leading the mob and being violent in various videos. Other than this, he has also been seen with sticks and pelting stones. His call detailed records show that he was on the spot.

Other than there there are the statements of a Rifaqat Ali (accused number 1) and Mohammad Faizan (accused number 2), both accused in this case and arrested, who have said that, "3-4 young women had said that they will not get off the roads and this is about their respect." Both have not taken any names as per the charge sheet.

WhatsApp Message

In the brief note that the Delhi Police had released in the first week of June, they had specifically mentioned this WhatsApp message. In the charge sheet they have attributed the same to Rifaqat Ali who was arrested on 30 March. The WhatsApp message is supposed to be a guide for what women must do in the time of riots.

Dange ke halat me ghar ki auratein Kya kren  (What should the women of the house do during the riots?)

  1. Ghar me garam khaulta hua pani or tel/oil ka intezam kare (Keep boiling water, oil at home).
  2. Building ki sedhiyo pr tel/shampoo/surf dalde (Put oil, shampoo or surf on the stairs leading to your home).
  3. Lal mirch pani garam me/ya powder ka istemal kre (Use red chili powder by mixing it in water or powder).
  4. Darwazo ko mazboot kare, jald se jald Grill/Iron wala gate Lagwae (Install stronger doors, get grills and iron doors installed).
  5. Tezab ki bolte ghar me rkhe (Keep a bottle of acid at home).
  6. Balcony/terrace par eit or Pathhar rakhe (Keep stones and bricks at the balcony. terrace of your home).
  7. Car/bikes se petrol nikal kar rkhe (Take the petrol out of your car and bikes).
  8. Lohe k darwazo me switch se current ka istimaal kre (Use electricity through iron doors).
  9. Ek building se doosri building me jane k liye raste ka intezam kre (Ensure there is a way to go from one building to another).
  10. Building ke sare mard hazrat ek Saath building na chhoden, kuchh log female safety ke liye ruken. (All the men don’t leave the building together, some women stay back for safety reasons).

    Other than being named by a witness, the evidence against him includes several videos where he can allegedly be seen instigating and leading the violent mob. The police specifically mentions that he can be seen with an iron rod on him. His cap, that he used, has been retrieved and so was his mobile phone. The CDR establishes his presence on the ground.

All the accused in the case have been booked under Section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon) 149 (being part of an unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt). 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and others inclyding Section 25 and 27 of the Arms Act.

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