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CAA, Delhi riot among ‘triggers’ — Delhi Police find Jahangirpuri ‘conspiracy’ in WhatsApp chats

Delhi Police Crime Branch Thursday filed a 2,063-page chargesheet in connection with Jahangirpuri violence, which erupted on 16 April during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

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New Delhi: Multiple Whatsapp groups, chats on how “Bharat varsh mein sab khatam ho raha he (everything is coming to an end in India)“, videos of riots, discussions on protests, and stashing of bottles to be used in violence. 

These are some of the clues that have helped Delhi Police uncover how the violence this April in Jahangirpuri allegedly erupted, sources in the force said. 

According to the sources, the prime suspects had hatched a “conspiracy” to wage violence in retaliation to what they saw as the persecution of Muslims in India, and a Hanuman Jayanti rally on 16 April — which “triggered stone-pelting from both sides” — provided them with the opportunity.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch Thursday filed a 2,063-page chargesheet in connection with the violence, which left nine people injured.

Out of 37 arrested, 31 are Muslims and six Hindus. 

The investigating team was led by DCP Rohit Meena, DCP Vichitra Veer, ACP Abhinendra Jain and investigating officer Pradeep Kumar, police said.

In a statement, Delhi Police sought to link the violence to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019 and 2020.

“From the investigation conducted so far and material on record, it is established that the present incident was in continuation of the protests against CAA  & NRC of 2019 & 2020 in Shaheen Bagh and the northeast Delhi riots of February 2020, which got further aggravated after Ram Navami  incidents on 10.04.2022 in different parts of the country,” the police said. 

Police said the chargesheet has been filed on the basis of footage from 28 CCTV cameras, 34 viral videos & 56 videos from electronic media. Twenty out of the 37 accused arrested have been captured in CCTV footage/viral videos, and were identified using facial recognition technology. 

Speaking to ThePrint, sources in Delhi Police detailed the contents of the chargesheet, referring — among other things — to WhatsApp chats of three people identified as the prime accused, Tabrez Khan, Mohammed Ansar and Israfil (police have released only first name).

Israfil and his son Ashanoor are among the eight accused in the violence who are on the run, while Tabrez and Ansar are under arrest.

The sources said they have only partially recovered some of the WhatsApp chats, adding that the prime accused allegedly forwarded videos, and made statements on the “situation concerning Muslims” in the country to allegedly instigate and mobilise people for the riots. 

“Through these chats, the main accused manipulated the local residents. This has been mentioned in the chargesheet,” a source said. 

“The accused collected and stashed bottles to be used during the violence. This is a premeditated conspiracy,” the source said. 

The sources said the accused weren’t directly linked to the northeast Delhi riots but had mobilised people for the anti-CAA protests.

“Preventive action was taken against Israfil during that period,” another source said. 

Tabrez Khan was in the news earlier for volunteering to donate plasma after he recovered from Covid. Sources said preventive action was also taken against him in January 2020, just before the northeast Delhi riots.

While Delhi Police have said the Hanuman Jayanti procession was held without permission, the organisers have denied this. 


Also Read: ‘Idea of Bharat under threat’ — what pro-Hindutva press wrote about Jahangirpuri violence


‘Accused spoke of injustice’

Sources said the accused — in their statements to police — claimed they had discussions on certain Whatsapp groups about how bulldozers are allegedly used for demolition drives against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. 

“They told the local residents that if they don’t take action now, their homes and shops will also be bulldozed like in UP,” the first aforementioned source said.

“There will be better clarity on this when we receive forensic reports of all the data from the phones,” the source added. 

“Ansar, Tabrez and Israfil had been planning the violence for a couple of days,” the source said, adding that, “during interrogation, the accused (Muslims) revealed that they were angry and upset since the CAA-NRC protests”. 

“It further increased during the clashes that broke out this year during Ram Navami rallies in different parts of the country,” the source added. 

“The main accused fed information to the local residents saying injustice has been meted out to them and it’s time they take matters into their own hands. They were mentally preparing for the clash. However, stone-pelting started from both sides.” 

Asked about how the accused stored and procured the weapons, sources said the agencies are investigating the funding angle and a supplementary chargesheet will be filed after Israfil is arrested. 

One of Israfil’s sons is already in custody. Sources claimed that they have recovered bottles and stones from Israfil’s house. 

The six Hindus arrested, sources said, were part of the rally and aren’t part of the premeditated conspiracy.

This story has been updated.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)


Also Read: ‘How to save Hindus’ – On phones of Jahangirpuri teens tips to keep acid, knife, glass


 

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