Delhi High Court says Delhi riots a planned attempt to disrupt normal life

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused bail to one of the accused in a case related to the riots that rocked the north-eastern region of the national capital in February last year, stating that the riots were a planned attempt to disrupt normal life and the functioning of the government.

Refusing bail to Mohammad Ibrahim, who was arrested in December in connection with the three-day violence that claimed more than 50 lives and injured around 200 people, besides causing huge loss to property, the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad said on Monday that Delhi riots were planned and calculated to cause disruptions and not triggered by any incident.

"The February 2020 riots did not take place in the spur of a moment," noted the Bench.

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 systematic disconnection and destruction of CCTV cameras also confirms the existence of a pre-planned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city. This is also evident from the fact that innumerable rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas and bats on a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials,"

-noted Justice Prasad, while refusing bail to Ibrahim.

"Individual liberty" cannot be used to threaten the fabric of a civilised society, observed the High Court, adding that Ibrahim was seen on CCTV clips threatening the crowds with a sword.

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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 that 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 contingent of policemen, died of head injuries and another official was severely injured.