Exactly a year after communal clashes broke out in North-East Delhi as violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, data collected from the designated trial courts showed that over 3,500 people have been granted bail and 73 charge sheets have been taken cognisance of.
The clash snowballed into full-fledged rioting in the area between February 23 and 27, last year. According to the Delhi Police, 53 people were killed and 581 injured in the widespread violence. The riots were followed by registration of as many as 755 FIRs and arrest of 1,818 people. The police carried out the investigation during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The Delhi High Court had designated two sessions and two magisterial courts for trial of the communal violence. According to the data collected from these courts, a total of 4,347 bail applications have been processed, out of which 3,546 have been allowed and 801 rejected.
In the court of Additional Sessions Judge (ASG) Amitabh Rawat, 74 bails were allowed, while 42 have been dismissed till late December, as per the data collected from the court staff. JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal were among those who were granted bail by the court. This court is also handling the UAPA case.
In Additional Sessions Judge (ASG) Vinod Yadav’s court, 3,472 bails have been granted, the maximum in any court till now, while 759 such applications have been dismissed till early January, this year. This includes bail to United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi. Besides this, the Delhi High Court has granted and denied hundreds of bail applications.
While hundreds of charge sheets have been filed by the police in various cases, cognisance has been taken in only 73, including the 17,000-page final report in the conspiracy case in which Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain, Sharjeel Imam and 15 others are charged with stringent unlawful Assembly (Prevention) Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
On February 19, Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava, while addressing the media during the annual Press Conference, said that the Delhi Police had used hi-tech methods such as DNA fingerprinting, Facial Recognition System (FRS), e-Vahan database, drone mapping and geo location to identify and arrest the rioters involved in the Delhi riots.
He said the Delhi Police used video analytics and FRS to analyse CCTV footage to identify the accused in the riots. The police also retrieved deleted data from electronic devices like mobile phones, used geo-location to ascertain the presence of the rioters and also used drone mapping for crime scene reconstruction during Delhi riots.
Use of DNA fingerprinting, e-Vahan database, facial recognition, fund flow analysis and forensic teams comprising physical, chemical, biological and ballistics were also pressed into action. Analysis of videos and photographs through open sources were also used to investigate the cases along with the handwriting, he added.
He said that three Special Investigation Teams (SIT) were formed to investigate the cases. While one of the cases was registered to unearth the conspiracy behind the riots, which was investigated by the Special Cell while the remaining cases were investigated by northeast district police.