5 Yrs On, Muslim Men Charged in 2014 Trilokpuri Riot Await Justice

5 Yrs On, Muslim Men Charged in 2014 Trilokpuri Riot Await Justice

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Imtiyaz, a hosiery wholesaler, had finished lunch with his family that day when the Delhi Police personnel barged into his house.

It was 25 October 2014.

Two days ago, Trilokpuri, where Imitiyaz has been living with his family since 1997, had turned into a communal cauldron with both Hindu and Muslim men pelting stones.

The immediate trigger was a brawl between two groups near a make-shift ‘Mata ki Chowki’ that was set up close to the local mosque in Block 20.

“They (police) dragged us from our house and started beating us. After beating us badly, we were taken to the police station where we were beaten up again. No one was willing to explain what was going on.”
Imtiyaz Ahmed, Hosiery Wholesaler
Imtiyaz Ahmed (L) with his brother Sarfaraz (R) at their home in Trilokpuri.
Imtiyaz Ahmed (L) with his brother Sarfaraz (R) at their home in Trilokpuri.
(Photo: Akanksha Kumar/ The Quint)

Ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections, The Quint visited Trilokpuri constituency and met those facing charges in the 2014 riots case. In midst of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh and statements such as goli maro’ by BJP leaders, the people are uneasy.

Both Imtiyaz and his younger brother Sarfaraz were arrested by the Delhi Police and named in the FIR among 34 others.

They have been charged of rioting under sec 147 and sec 148 of the IPC along with sec 149 (unlawful assembly), sec 307 (attempt to murder), sec 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) and sec 186 (voluntarily obstructing a public servant).

“We didn’t have the courage to ask police why they were beating us.”
Imtiyaz Ahmed, Hosiery Wholesaler

Five years later, Imtiyaz continues to face legal proceedings with the next hearing due on 30 March 2020.

Imitiyaz is not the only one implicated in the 2014 communal violence who claims that they were pulled from their house by the police and jailed.

Few houses away, in Block 17, Kasim, an IT professional, says he was at home that day as he was on leave.

He, too, was allegedly dragged and jailed for 19 days. Kasim’s mother, Dilbahar, vouches for her son’s innocence.

“He was not given water to drink or even food. He was made to lie down and beaten so much that his legs turned blue. My sons have a reputation in both the blocks whether it is Block 14 or Block 15 that they haven’t even picked up a fight.”
Dilbahar, Kasim’s mother
At the time of arrest, Kasim was employed in the technical support team on a contractual basis at the Home Ministry.
At the time of arrest, Kasim was employed in the technical support team on a contractual basis at the Home Ministry.
(Photo: Akanksha Kumar/ The Quint)
“As evidence they’ve shown me to be arrested from Block 27 when the police actually pulled me out of my house.”
Kasim Siddiqui, IT Professional

Kasim was part of a technical support team, hired on contract by the Ministry of Home Affairs, where he used to get a monthly salary of Rs 14,000.

Soon after his arrest, he was shown the door. He was at home, unemployed, for six months before he decided to go for a pay cut and joined another firm at a monthly salary of Rs 10,000.

Mohd Dildar’s kids woke up to a strange smell that day at their uncle’s house in Trilokpuri. Police had thrown tear gas shells inside the house, in a bid to force men of the household to come out.

“The police threw a few tear gas shells. Our kids got so hassled as their eye started watering up. They began crying, asking me whether we will survive or not.”
Mohd Dildar, Hawker
Mohd Dildar, a hawker, with the summon notice from the Karkardooma court.
Mohd Dildar, a hawker, with the summon notice from the Karkardooma court.
(Photo: Akanksha Kumar/ The Quint)

Dildar, aged 45, is a saree hawker and earns around Rs 500 daily. He, too, has received summons to appear before the Karkardooma court on 30 March 2020.

Soon after the riots, some locals came together to form an Aman (Peace-Building) Committee, that works in close coordination with the police.

There are other activists who continue to extend legal and financial aid to those facing trial. Wajid Hussain, a local activist, managed to gather photos of 2014 CCTV footage that shows men being taken from homes.

Photos of 2014 CCTV footage showing men being taken from homes.
Photos of 2014 CCTV footage showing men being taken from homes.
(Photo: Akanksha Kumar/ The Quint)
“Three blocks have Muslim majority with Muslims forming 60-70 percent of the population. If someone is telling me that Muslims were involved in stone-pelting and were involved in rioting then merely three blocks can’t unleash violence against 36 blocks at any cost.”
Wajid Hussain, Activist

Even as cases drag on and criminal proceedings follow at their own pace, these men claim that they were targeted for being part of a certain community that’s always looked at with suspicion. People like Imtiyaz eagerly await the next hearing, hoping that charges against them will be quashed.

Also Read : Ahead of Delhi Polls, Babarpur Residents Open Up on Mohalla Clinic

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