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28 Sep 2021: 2020 Delhi riots were pre-planned, pre-meditated conspiracy: Delhi HC
The February 2020 Delhi riots were a "pre-planned" and "pre-meditated" conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city, the Delhi High Court said Monday. The comments were made while denying bail to Mohammad Ibrahim in the Head Constable Ratan Lal murder case during the North East Delhi riots. The riots "evidently did not take place in the spur of the moment," it said.
Details: Calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government: Court
The court said the conduct of the protesters seen in the video footage submitted by the prosecution makes it clear that the riots were a "calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government." "The systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras also confirmed the existence of a pre-planned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city," the HC continued.
Fact: Rioters with sticks, 'dandas', bats outnumbered police officials: Court
Referring to the CCTV footage, the court said the pre-planned nature of the riots is also evident "from the fact that innumerable rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas, bats, etc. upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials."
High Court: 'Individual liberty' cannot be misused to threaten social fabric: HC
The court also underscored its previous observation that personal liberty is important in a democracy, noting "individual liberty" cannot be misused to threaten the fabric of society. "Individual liberty cannot be misused in a manner that threatens the very fabric of civilized society...attempting to destabilize it and cause hurt to other persons." The observation was made as CCTV footage showed Ibrahim with a sword.
On Ibrahim: 'Petitioner with the sword is sufficient to reject bail plea'
Ibrahim's lawyer argued Ratan Lal's death was not caused by a sword. Ibrahim claimed he was carrying the sword only for self-defense. Rejecting the arguments, the HC said though Ibrahim was not seen at the crime scene, he traveled 1.6km away from his neighborhood with a sword. The HC maintained this is sufficient to reject the bail plea as the act itself is "egregious."
Case: What was the case?
The case involved a mob attack on policemen at Chand Bagh in North East Delhi at the peak of the Delhi riots last year. A Constable, who registered the case, claimed that protesters attacked DCP Shahdara, ACP Gokulpuri, and Head Constable Ratan Lal, due to which they sustained grievous injuries. Ratan Lal later succumbed to his injury while another official was severely injured.
Fact: Court granted bail to 8 accused in the case
Notably, while Ibrahim's bail plea was rejected, another accused, Mohammad Saleem Khan, was granted bail on Monday. The court had recently granted bail to Shahnawaz and Mohammad Ayyub while denying it to Sadiq and Irshad Ali. The HC earlier granted bail to five other accused.
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