Denying bail to eight accused involved in the communal clashes that had erupted in Jahangirpuri during Hanuman Jayanti procession on 16 April, a Delhi court on Sunday, 8 May, blasted the Delhi Police for not stopping the illegal procession and demanded that the police chief investigate the matter and fix accountability among the officers involved.
The Rohini court rapped the Delhi Police for its “utter failure” in stopping the Lord Hanuman procession, which didn't have permission, adding that "their complicity, if any, also needs to be investigated."
The police, on the other hand, issued a statement saying that dispersing the religious procession forcefully could have led to a law and order problem.
What Did the Court Say?
The court said on Sunday that the accused in the clashes are "known criminals of the area" and could "threaten or influence witnesses," Live Law reported.
“The issue seems to have been simply brushed aside by the senior officers. The liability on the part of the concerned officials needs to be fixed so that in future no such incident takes place and the police is not complacent in preventing the illegal activities,” Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh said in the order, as quoted by Live Law.
“It is fairly admitted on behalf of the state that the last procession, which was passing through during which the unfortunate riots took place, was illegal having no prior permission from (the) police,” the judge said, as quoted by Financial Express.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police, on 8 May, arrested three more suspects in connection with the clash. This takes the number to 33 arrests and three juveniles have been apprehended, Hindustan Times reported.
The Police's Response
In a media statement issued on Sunday, the public relations officer of the Delhi Police said, "It is being circulated in media that local police of Jahangirpuri was present during the procession (Shobha Yatra) and didn’t stop it, despite the fact that it had no permissions."
"As the crowd had already gathered for religious procession and dispersing them forcefully could have led to law and order problem. As soon as the clashes broke out, police controlled the situation in minimum possible time and ensured no casualty took place. Both the communal groups were immediately separated and as the stone and bottle pelting started, the police officials stood like a wall and dispersed the crowd instantly."
"Further, legal action through a case u/s 188 IPC was registered against organisers for carrying out procession without permission, the investigation of which is under progress," the police added.
What Happened in Jahangirpuri on 16 April?
Communal clashes broke out during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in Jahangirpuri, where stone pelting and arson were reported. Eight police officers and one civilian were injured in the clashes.
Five accused, namely Ansar Sheikh, Imam Sheikh alias Sonu, Salim Chikna, Dilshad, and Ahir, are charged under the National Security Act (NSA).
Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana has asked the Enforcement Directorate to take action against Ansar, the main accused in the Jahangirpuri case. Ansar was also found to be previously involved in two cases of assault and was arrested repeatedly under preventive sections and booked five times under the Gambling Act and the Arms Act.
(With inputs from Live Law, Hindustan Times and Financial Express.)
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