Delhi Riots Probe: Sitaram Yechury & Jayati Ghosh Also Named Now

Disclosure statements by accused Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal & Gulfisha Fatima name activists and politicians .

Updated
India
6 min read
The basis of the claim are disclosure statements by UAPA accused Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Gulfisha Fatima.
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Disclosure statements by Pinjra Tod activists and UAPA accused Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal under FIR 50, registered with Jafrabad police station, names economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy in their supplementary charge sheet . To add to that, names of Swaraj Abhiyan President Yogendra Yadav and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury have also been mentioned in UAPA accused Gulfisha Fatima’s disclosure statement.

The Quint had reported on the main charge sheet under FIR 50 in the first week of July where the police had openly made the claim that the Jafrabad blockade was aimed at Hindu-Muslim riots.

The police claims in their charge sheet that “during investigation, police custody/ remand of the accused was obtained to unearth the conspiracy behind the riots and to arrest the co-accused but, all three did not cooperate in investigation and misled the police in order to derail the investigation,” but continues to make their cases on the basis of disclosure statements against the accused.

In this story we bring to you the incorrect report by PTI, Delhi Police’s response, details of the three disclosure statements and responses to the allegations by Yechury, Yadav and Apoorvanand.

PTI REPORT AND DELHI POLICE’S RESPONSE

A report published by the wire news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), and picked up by several media outlets, said Delhi Police claimed all those named were co-conspirators.

A few hours after the article was published, PTI issued a correction saying those named were not accused to be co-conspirator.

Reacting to the story, a Delhi Police spokesperson said, “As far as the PTI tweet regarding Delhi Police naming academicians and politicians in the supplementary charge sheet of the case related to Jaffrabad riots is concerned, it has been mentioned in one of the online new agency report that the names are part of the disclosure statement of one of the accused in connection with organising and addressing the Anti-CAA protests. It is worth mentioning that the disclosure statement has been truthfully recorded as narrated by the accused person. A person is not arraigned as an accused only on the basis of disclosure statement. However, it is only on the existence of sufficient corroborative evidence does further legal action is taken. The matter is currently subjudice.”

It is important to note here that while the Delhi Police claims the disclosure statements have been ‘truthfully recorded’, under Section 25 of the Evidence Act they are not permissible to be used in trial. Section 25 reads: No confession made to a police officer, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.

The only exception is when it leads to recovery of evidence, like the murder weapon for example. Even then only that relevant portion shall be used and not the entire statement. So how these statements are used for recovery of evidence is something only the trial will show us. Until then they do not amount to anything in the course of the trial.

This reporter also reached out to Gulfisha Fatima’s lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, who said there was no truth in the disclosure statement. “It is absolutely false and baseless. It is the police’s agenda to further their narrative on the basis of what those in the government want,” he said. In Gulfisha’s statement, the name of her lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, features as well.

We have reached out to the lawyers of Narwal and Kalita, and the article will be updated if they respond.

Let’s take a look at the portions of their statements that name the activists, economist and political leaders.

A LOOK AT ALL 3 DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

We have not corrected the typos or grammatical errors in the statements and produced them as they were mentioned in the charge sheet.


Gulfisha Fatima’s statement: It starts with how Gulfisha would often visit various anti-CAA protest sites and over time became friends with Natasha and Devangana from Pinjra Tod.
“The crowd had started growing and according to plan, big leaders and lawyers started coming in to provoke and mobilize this crowd, including Omar Khalid, Chandra Sekhar Ravan, Yogendar Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, and lawyer Mahmood Pracha, Chaudhary Matin etc. The lawyer, Mahmood Pracha, said that the sitting in demonstration is your democratic right and the rest of the leaders filled the feeling of discontent in the community by calling CAA/NRC anti-Muslim.”

DEVANGANA AND NATASHA’S STATEMENTS ARE IDENTICAL

Devangana Kalita’s statement: "In the month of December after passing CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) Jaidi Ghosh, Professor Apurva Nand, Rahul Roy had explained that we have to protest against CAA/ NRC for which we can go any extreme due to which we can through the Govt and Umar Khalid had also given some tips for doing protest against CAA/NRC. On the directions of these persons Umar Khalid's United Against Hate Group and JCC (Jamia Coordination Committee & members of our Pinjda Tod together started protest in difierent parts of Delhi.

Natasha Narwal’s statement: “In the month of December after passing CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) Jaidi Ghosh, Professor Apurva Nand, Rahul Roy had explained that we have to protest against CAA/NRC for which we can go any extreme due to which we can through the Govt and Umar Khalid had -also given some tips for doing protest against CAA/NRC. On the directions of these persons Umar Khalid's United Against Hate Group and JCC (Jamia Coordination Committee & members of our Pinjdra Tad together started protest in different parts of Delhi.

This is not the first time that there have been identical disclosure statements recorded by the police. On the charge sheet against 16 members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh who were arrested on the charges of murder and rioting, the police had recorded 16 ditto statements.

SITARAM YECHURY, YOGENDRA YADAV, APOORVANAND SLAM DELHI POLICE

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury slammed the Delhi Police and the BJP top leadership in a thread of tweets, quote tweeting the PTI update. “The Delhi Police works under the BJP's central government and the home ministry. Their illegal activities reflect the character of the BJP's top political leadership. They are afraid of opposition questions and peaceful demonstrations, and want to stop us by misusing power,” he wrote.

He also said, “Our Constitution not only gives us the right to hold peaceful demonstrations against all kinds of discriminatory laws like CAA, but it is also our responsibility. We will continue the work of opposition. The BJP government came to power with its antics. We defeated Emergency. Will also deal with this emergency.”

Reacting to Delhi Police’s statement, Yogendra Yadav tweeted, “Minus the legalese, @DelhiPolice is saying that we have not been named as accused, that we've just been named in a disclosure statement of one accused. That's correct. As for Delhi Police truthfully recording statement of accused, I am looking for a sack of salt!!” He also called the PTI tweet factually incorrect.

In a detailed statement, professor Apoorvanad pointed out the various concerns regarding the way the investigation is progressing in the case. Here is the entire statement:

It has been brought to my notice that a supplementary Chargesheet filed in connection with FIR 50/2020 has certain disclosure statements by accused in custody, that mention my name, together with that of Rahul Roy, Umar Khalid, Jayati Ghosh , Sita Ram Yechuri and Yogendra Yadav. These names are mentioned in uncorroborated statements attributed to accused who are in custody, where it is claimed that they provided support in organising the anti- CAA protests.

The supplementary CS proclaims that the accused persons were 'continously poisoning the minds of common people against the CAA/ NRC.' This is the government's political position; surprisingly being parroted in the supplementary CS as a legal offence.

Although FIR 50/2020 was registered in connection with the death, from gunshot injury, of one Amaan, the investigation seems to have focussed on deligitimizing the protests and in trying to make the protestors indirectly responsible for Amaan's death.

While I am not made accused, it is very surprising that the police should even accuse three young women, without any basis, of having murdered a 17 year old boy, Amaan. It would seem that the accused women are not directly linked to the murder, but the allegation is that they instigated some unknown shooter. The investigation has not revealed who shot at Amaan, but it insists that whoever it was, was instigated by the anti-CAA stance of the accused individuals.
It is also pertinent that on September 1st, the Delhi High Court, while hearing a bail application by Devangana Kalita, has categorically held that the police has not been able to give any evidence of any incendiary speech by her. The court also said that the statements of the witnesses were produced belatedly, as an afterthought by the police.
The supplementary CS does not improve upon the legal case, but only seems to be furthering the political agenda of discrediting the protestors, and uses all our names as part of the discrediting exercise. Their act of having planned a protest is being treated as a conspiracy to violence, in which me, along with others, are projected as having abetted that cause, without any basis in law or facts.
We are still waiting for the Delhi police to start investigation to find out the truth behind the actual act of the February violence . It needs to stop its exercise of criminalising the anti CAA protests which were perfectly legitimate act of citizenship.

To read our reportage on the Delhi riots, click here.

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