Jamia Nagar violence | Court discharges Sharjeel Imam and 10 other accused, says booked as ‘scapegoats’

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A New Delhi court on February 4 acquitted 11 people, including Student activist Sharjeel Imam And Asif Iqbal alone, in the Jamia Nagar violence case, said that the Delhi Police had failed to nab the real culprits, calling the accused “scapegoats”.

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However, the court ordered to indict one of the accused Muhammad Ilyas.

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“Marshalling the facts emerging from the perusal of the charge-sheet and the three supplementary charge-sheets, this Court cannot come to the conclusion that the police failed to catch the real culprits behind the commission of the crime, but certainly the rope I succeeded. People here as scapegoats,” said Additional Sessions Judge Arul Verma.

An FIR was registered in December 2019 in Jamia Nagar area here in connection with the violence that erupted after clashes between police and people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

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The judge said that there were several protestors at the place and some anti-social elements in the crowd could have created an atmosphere of disturbance and mayhem.

“However, the crucial question remains – were the accused here also primarily involved in participating in the disaster? The answer is an unequivocal no,” he added.

The court said the legal proceedings against the 11 accused had been initiated in a “frivolous and cavalier manner” and “allowing them to go through the rigors of a protracted trial does not bode well for the country’s criminal justice system”.

Furthermore, such police action is detrimental to the freedom of citizens who choose to exercise their fundamental right to peaceful assembly and protest. The freedom of protesting citizens should not have been lightly interfered with.

The court held that dissent is an extension of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, subject to reasonable restrictions.

Citing the Supreme Court’s 2012 judgment, the judge said the court’s duty is to lean towards an interpretation that protects the rights of the accused, given the disparity of power between them and the state machinery.

The court said investigating agencies need to understand the difference between dissent and sedition.

“The latter [insurrection] Must be controlled unnecessarily. However, Ex [dissent] It said that disagreements should be given a place, a forum.

The court also held that dissent should be encouraged and not suppressed, provided that it should be absolutely peaceful, without devolving into violence.

The judge said the investigating agency should have included the use of technology or gathered reliable intelligence against the accused.

“Otherwise, it should have refrained from filing ill-conceived charge sheets against persons whose role was limited to being part of the protest,” he said.

“Considering the fact that the State’s case is devoid of incontrovertible evidence, all persons in the charge sheet except Muhammad Ilyas are hereby acquitted of all the offenses for which they were arraigned. In his order, he said that if he is not wanted in any other case, he should be released.

He also said that “it is obvious that the police have arbitrarily selected some people from the crowd as accused and some people from the same crowd as police witnesses. This is cherry picking by the police.” Prejudicial to the principles of justice.”

The court heard that Ilyas was photographed throwing burning tires and was identified by police witnesses.

“Therefore, the charges in the charge-sheet be determined…[against] Accused Muhammad Ilyas, the judge said.

“Needless to say, the investigating agency has not been deterred from conducting further investigations in a fair manner… to bring the real culprits to book, with the determination that correspondence between dissidents and rioters “Don’t be obscured, and avoid arrest from now on. Innocent protesters,” he added.

Noting that the charge-sheets filed in the case had “nothing new to offer”, the court said “the filing of multiple charge-sheets should be stopped, otherwise the exercise would be nothing more than mere prosecution”. reflects and has the effect of violating the rights of the people. Accused”.

The court said that the accused were merely present and there was no objectionable evidence against them.

“No overt act or participation in the commission of the crime has been attributed to them. There is no eyewitness to substantiate the statement of the police that the accused were in any way involved in the crime,” the court said. .

He also said that there was no prohibitory order in the area where the protest took place.

The court further observed that the chargesheet failed to explain the illegal common object of the accused and there was no evidence regarding the accused sharing common object with each other and with the crowd in general.

The judge said that the positive knowledge test was also missing in the charge sheet.

“The accused were protesting against a piece of legislation and chanting slogans against its implementation. Positive knowledge that their chanting would result in such destruction was not attributed to them without any concrete evidence. Can go,” said the judge.

Rejecting the allegation of conspiracy, the court said that the prosecution had not produced any evidence that there was any agreement or conspiracy between the accused.

“The prosecution has not produced any WhatsApp chat, SMS or any evidence of the accused communicating with each other… Even in the photographs, all the 12 accused are not standing together and in the video, they are not visible. coming. pointing or talking to each other,” the court said.

The Jamia Nagar police station filed a charge sheet against Imam, Tanha, Safura Zargar, Muhammad Qasim, Mehmood Anwar, Shahzar Raza Khan, Muhammad Abuzar, Muhammad Shoaib, Umeer Ahmed, Bilal Nadeem, Chanda Yadav and Muhammad Ilyas.

Imam was accused of inciting riots by giving a provocative speech at Jamia Millia University on December 13, 2019. He will remain in jail as he is an accused in the 2020 northeast Delhi riots major conspiracy case.

The chargesheet was filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 186 (obstructing public servants in the performance of a public function), 353 (public (including assault or criminal force) to prevent servant in discharge of his duty), 308 (culpable attempt to murder), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive with intent to cause harm), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 120B (criminal Conspiracy).

The chargesheet also includes provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

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