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North-East Riots Report: Delhi Police Call It "Pre Planned Conspiracy", Arrest Over 1700 So Far
The riots started on February 23, 2020 and lasted till February 25, 2020, which resulted in the loss of 53 lives and damage of several public and private properties.
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A year after the North East Delhi riots that jolted the national capital the Delhi Police Special Cell and the Delhi Crime Branch, in their annual report filed, termed the riots as the worst communal riots witnessed in Delhi. The police stated that the riots allegedly took place in the background of the ‘sit-in’ protests against the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
DCP Special Cell, Pramod Singh Kushwaha and Delhi Crime Branch, DCP Joy Tirkey in their annual report on the NE riots stated that the riots were pre planned conspiracy to embarrass the Indian government during the visit of former USA President Donald Trump.
The riots started on February 23, 2020 and lasted till February 25, 2020, which resulted in the loss of 53 lives and damage of several public and private properties. 755 cases were registered in the 11 police stations of North-East District. The number of cases was that high that special camps had to be organized to register the cases with senior officers hearing the complaints directly from the victims.
The hotspots where most of the cases of rioting, arson, injury, murder, damages to property etc. were registered in Khajuri Khas, Bhajanpura, Karawal Nagar, Gokalpuri, Jafrabad and Dayalpur police stations.
The Delhi Police had formed three special investigating teams (SIT) in the crime branch and assigned 62 important cases, including all 53 cases of murder and rioting. A separate case was registered in the Crime Branch and assigned to Special Cell to look into the larger conspiracy behind the riots and rest of the 692 cases were investigated by the local police.
The agencies have termed the riots as “well calculated conspiracy”. Elaborating more on that, the agencies stated that the organizers of riots were aware of the fact that any communal violence in Delhi during President Trump’s visit would immediately be picked up by the international media and would cause huge embarrassment to the Indian government.
Therefore, on February 22, 2020 at about 10:30 - 11.00 PM, a crowd of about 1000 persons, including 400-500 women and children, gathered and sat under Jafrabad Metro Station on main 66 Foota Road in a well-orchestrated way in response to a call of ‘Bharat Bandh’ by Chandra Shekhar Azad alias Ravan of Bheem Army. The protestors were raising slogans against the Union Government and had clogged the traffic at 66-Foota Road going from Seelampur T-Point towards Maujpur in Delhi.
On February 23, 2020, the anti-CAA and proCAA groups came face-to-face near Maujpur and the situation worsened. Incident of stone pelting and clashes were reported from various places and Police immediately swung into action to contain the clashes.
On February 24, 2020, clashes were again reported from Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh areas. In a serious incident of violence, a police party was outnumbered and assaulted by thousands of rioters. Amit Sharma (DCP Shahdara), Anuj Kumar (ACP Gokalpuri), HC Ratan Lal (Wireless Operator of ACP) and some more police personnel were seriously injured, as huge crowd attacked them near Chand Bagh, main Wazirabad Road. HC Rattan Lal died in the incident and both the above named officers sustained critical injuries.
The investigation agencies stated that biggest challenge was to identify the accused and the police made extensive use of the technology to identify them.
As per their report, Delhi Police have so far arrested 1753 in this case where 1553 persons have already been chargesheeted while 200 are yet to be chargesheeted. 1204 accused are in judicial custody while 544 persons had received bail. The police have filed 342 chargesheets in the case. Out of the total 1753 arrested accused, 820 are Hindus while 933 are Muslims.
Talking about the scientific tools and evidence used during investigation the agencies stated that video analytics and facial recognition system was used for analysis of CCTV footage and video recordings from smart phones.
945 CCTV footage and video recordings were obtained from multiple sources, including CCTV cameras installed on the roads, video recordings from mobile phones, video footage obtained from media houses and other sources were analysed with the help of video analytic tools and facial recognition system.
The photographs therein were matched for multiple databases, which included Delhi Police criminal dossier photographs and other database maintained with the government. This helped identifying persons involved in riots, which proved helpful in taking legal action after corroboration with other supporting evidence.
231 accused were arrested on the basis of CCTV and video footage. Out of which 137 were identified by FRS when matched with criminal records while remaining 94 were identified by driving licences.
The officials also used artificial intelligence based technology for the enhancement of CCTV images for better identification of rioters. The e-Vahan database and the driving license databases were used for further identification.
The data recovered from the mobile handsets seized from the accused and those deleted proved helpful in gathering evidence against accused persons. Several self-incriminating digital evidences such as recorded conversations, videos etc. were recovered from the handsets, the officials stated.
The investigators also carried out Dump Data Analysis where the dumped data of the several riot hotspots were obtained for those crucial hours when the riot was at its peak in order to identify the persons who were present. This was corroborated with other supporting evidences to fix their culpability.
Similarly, they used Geo Location (Google timeline). On February 24, 2020 one Rahul Solanki (26) was shot dead behind Rajdhani School, Delhi. The phone of the suspect was seized and examined. The Google Map installed in his phone has clearly shown his movements on the day of incident and as such his presence at the spot is established as per his Google Map locations.
The investigators also used facial reconstruction to identify some dead bodies that were burnt and were beyond recognition. Faces were identified through superimposition of skull on the photographs.
Talking about another tool Fund Flow Analysis, the officials stated this software was used to find the flow of funds for the purpose of organising and funding the riots. This was specially done in the investigation of the conspiracy case.
The agencies have also stated that the months beginning from December 2019 to February 2020 witnessed largescale protests and violence spread over various parts of Delhi. They claimed that while opposition was building up in the Muslim community against CAA and NRC, certain groups with vested interests capitalized on this feeling and further aroused the sentiments of this community against the government.
The protestors resorted to violence at many places during the course of protests and the police had to take strong action to disperse the mobs, who had resorted to illegal and violent means, the officials stated in their report.
The Delhi Police in their report have ruled out the allegations of communal bias in investigations while giving out the details of the modes of investigations and giving out numbers of the arrested accused from both the communities.
RIOT CASES IN NE 2020
Khajuri Khas 153
New Usmanpur 24
Shastri Park 10
Sonia Vihar 5
(Source- Special Cell, Delhi Crime Branch)