In the multiple charge sheets filed by the Delhi police recently, suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain has been accused of being the kingpin behind “planning the Northeast Delhi riots” in February. (You can read a detailed report here on what the charge sheets say about his alleged role in the violence and in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma .)
However, in the two charge sheets that specificially talk about Tahir Hussain’s role and involvement in the violence, there is absolutely no mention of any woman’s body or clothes that were recovered from his house, unlike what was earlier claimed by many news outlets, especially Sudarshan TV.
Claims of Woman’s Burnt Clothes, Undergarments at Tahir’s Home by Sudarshan TV, RW Users
On 27 February, just two days after violence, the official handle of Sudarshan TV tweeted out a two-minute “ground report” from Tahir Hussain’s house where the reporter was seen talking to an unnamed person whom she introduces as a “witness”.
The “witness” says “a girl whose body was found in the drain was first dragged inside Hussain’s house, murdered and then dumped.” The camera point to some clothes lying on the ground with the reporter claiming, “Look there are burnt clothes lying on the floor, There are also undergarments of a woman lying here. Imagine what sort of a devious act must have been committed with this woman whose body was found in the drain.” She says the police has recovered the corpse and taken it with them for investigation.
The text of the tweet, in Hindi, said, “A woman's burnt clothes, burnt bags and undergarments found in #TahirHussain's house. It is speculated that an untoward incident has happened with the girl. According to sources, police has found a girl's body in the drain. There's a possibility that the girl was dragged into Tahir's house and brutally killed.”
At the time of publishing this article, this tweet had more than 10K retweets and likes. Many BJP leaders and members, right-wing websites and journalists also helped in amplifying the “news” of a “woman who was raped and murdered in Tahir Hussain’s house.” Among the BJP members were party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya and BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose own speech in NE Delhi’s Maujpur a day prior to the violence had raised several questions.
None of the Claims Find Any Mention in Police Records
While Delhi police had earlier denied that a woman’s corpse was found near Tahir Hussain’s house, the two charge sheets further discredit the claims made by Sudarshan News and the others. Despite the police’s denial, the channel had not taken down the tweet nor issued any correction.
The Quint scanned through the two charge sheets and found that while there are several mentions of the police finding rocks, stones, crates, molotoves at Tahir Hussain’s house, there is no mention of any woman’s clothes or belongings found anywhere in and around his house.
In its charge sheets, the Delhi police says:
“The inspection of the building of Tahir Hussain i.e E-7, Khajuri Khas, Main Karawal Nagar Road, Delhi and the adjoining area was got done by the FSL team. Physical inspection of the premises was also done. A lot of debris and stones, bricks, broken bottles, some glass bottles with liquid, bullets and burnt articles were lying scattered on the Main Karawal Nagar Road. The building of Tahir Hussain had been used by the rioters/ miscreants/ accused persons for brick batting, stone pelting, pelting of petrol bombs and acid bombs. It is a four storeyed building including the basement. At its first floor, Tahir Hussain runs his office in the name of “Show effect Advertisement Pvt. Ltd”. The second and the third floor are under construction. FSL team had inspected the basement and all the three storeys of the premise. At the back side of the premise, there is a residential complex at the first floor being used by Tahir Hussain for residential purposes. A lot of stones, bricks, glass bottles containing petrol with neck stuffed with clothes and other material were lying on the third and and on the roof top of the building. On inspection by the FSL team, no biological sample could be traced from the building and also from the residential complex of this building.”
According to the final list of 53 deceased, only one woman was confirmed dead in the NE Delhi violence - 85-year-old Akbari Begum who had died of asphyxiation wher her house in Bhajanpuri area was set on fire by a mob.
From Misusing a MP Girl’s Picture to a ‘Witness’ That Wasn’t: Here’s a List of Botched Up Claims
Earlier, The Quint had debunked the claims concerning a viral image of a young girl that was being passed off as the one “murdered in Tahir Hussain’s house.” Many right-wing users claimed that the girl in the image is 13-year-old Jyoti Patidar. But The Quint had found that the girl whose picture was being shared was actually from an unrelated incident in Madhya Pradesh.
Moreover, in the video tweeted out by Sudarshan News, when the reporter asked the so-called “witness” who the girl was, the man himself says, “ Her dead body has been taken by the police. I haven’t seen her.” Therefore, Sudarshan TV carried a “news ground report” based on the testimonies of a man, whom they called a “witness”, but who hadn’t actually witnessed the crime. Further, neither did their reports nor the claims made by right-wing users on social media found any mention in any police or official record.
Delhi police has filed a total of 88 charge sheets in different cases related to the Northeast Delhi violence, out of which three focus on the role of Tahir Hussain.
(With inputs from Aishwarya S Iyer)