“The February 2020 riots were a conspiracy, planned and executed. They were not fuelled in the spur of the moment by any incident,” the Delhi High Court said in strong remarks on the three-day violence that left over 50 dead and 200 injured.
The court said in the video footage submitted by the prosecution, it was clear from the conduct of the protesters that the riots were a planned attempt to disrupt normal life and the functioning of the government.
“The way the rioters disable the CCTVs proves that it was a conspiracy to disrupt law and order in the city,” said Justice Subramonium Prasad.
“It is also evident that the hundreds of rioters attacked police personnel mercilessly with sticks and bats.”
Justice Prasad made the comments while denying the bail request of an accused, Mohammad Ibrahim, who was arrested in December. Another accused, Mohammad Saleem Khan, was granted bail.
“Individual liberty” cannot be used to threaten the fabric of civilised society, the High Court said, adding that Ibrahim was seen on CCTV clips threatening the crowds with a sword.
Ibrahim has been linked to the killing of Head Constable Ratan Lal on February 24 by a mob of protesters. His lawyer had argued that Ratan Lal’s death was not caused by a sword.
Ibrahim also claimed that he was carrying the sword only to protect himself and his family.
The court rejected his arguments, saying the “clinching evidence that tilts the court towards extending Ibrahim’s custody” is the weapon he was carrying, which could have inflicted serious injuries and even killed.
The case involves a mob attack on policemen at Chand Bagh in northeast Delhi at the peak of the riots revolving around protests over a new citizenship law. Ratan Lal, who was a part of the grossly outnumbered contingent of policemen, died of head injuries and another official was severely injured.
With inputs from NDTV