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Court acquits 11 Muslim youths in Delhi Riots case

– Anwarulhaq Baig

New Delhi, October 26: A Delhi court has acquitted 11 Muslim youths, who were implicated in violence and vandalism that caused the death of a 22-year-old man during the Northeast Delhi riots in 2020. However, Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala of Karkardooma Court has framed charges of murder, rioting, and unlawful assembly against one of the accused, Mohd Shahnawaz.

The FIR in the case was registered under various sections of the IPC at Gokalpuri police station. A total of 12 Muslim youths were arrested in the case, and a charge sheet was filed on June 4, 2020. The local police initially conducted the probe into the case, which was later transferred to the SIT of the Crime Branch.

While acquitting the 11 accused, ASJ Pramachala observed that mere presence of the 11 accused persons in the mob during different points in time and their involvement in other incidents of riot cannot be a basis to make them vicariously liable for the incident that resulted in the death of Dilbar Negi.

Negi, who used to work as a waiter in Anil sweet shop, died after sustaining burn injuries during the riots.

The court further observed that although many accused persons were identified in videos of the riots, they could not be identified by either of the two eyewitnesses in this case. Therefore, the court concluded that the accused persons other than Shahnawaz were entitled to be discharged in the case.

In response to this verdict, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind lauded the lawyers’ efforts and expressed hope that the innocent individuals would soon receive justice.

In a statement, Maulana Niaz Ahmed Farooqi, legal affairs in-charge of Jamiat highlighted that the organization’s persistent efforts have resulted in the acquittal of 33 individuals related to the Delhi riots so far. Additionally, 584 individuals were able to secure bail before trial.

Those acquitted, including Muhammad Faisal, Rashid, Ashraf, Rashid alias Raja, Shahrukh, Shoaib alias Chotowa, and Muhammad Tahir, were represented by advocates Abdul Ghaffar and Salim Malik, appointed by President Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani.

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