New Delhi: The Delhi police on Monday told the high court that CCTV cameras at the police station where a Muslim man was detained after being beaten up by police officers during the Northeast Delhi riots of 2020 were not working due to a ‘technical fault’.
The video of 23-year-old Faizan, along with other Muslim men, being forced to sing the national anthem as they lay injured on the road on February 24 became viral during the riots. On February 26, Faizan passed died, soon after his release, with his mother telling The Wire that her son had died because the police denied him medical treatment.
According to Hindustan Times, the Delhi police, in an affidavit filed before Justice Yogesh Khanna, said CCTV cameras at the Jyoti Nagar station were not working due to “technical reasons”. The affidavit says that no tampering was noticed by the technician who had come to repair them.
The affidavit was submitted in response to a plea by Kismatun, Faizan’s mother, who had sought an SIT probe into her son’s death. The plea contended that the injured Faizan had been kept in “illegal detention” at the police station and was denied access to medical care until it was too late.
“The mere release from the police station prior to his death would not absolve the policemen of having committed murder in custody, and the Petitioner is seeking justice for the same,” the petition had said.
According to HT‘s report, on the last date of hearing, the court had asked the police to file an affidavit with information about the CCTV cameras functioning in the relevant month along with relevant documents. The police were also asked to file an affidavit about the preservation of relevant documents.
The affidavit said that apart from the service report about the repair of cameras, a report has also been obtained from the office of the station house officer of the Jyoti Nagar police station, confirming that on the date and time of the incident, CCTV cameras on the premises were not functional. The issue was only rectified on March 4, 2020, the affidavit says.
The police had questioned a policeman in connection with the incident, according to reports. However, it told the Delhi high court that the officers seen in the video footage have not been identified as they were wearing helmets and were not wearing name tags with their uniform.
The Bhajanpura police station had filed an FIR on February 28 in connection with the incident, which was later transferred to the Crime Branch. Kismatun’s petition labelled the Crime Branche’s probe into the murder case a “sham”.
The petition also asks “to place an record all Service and Conduct Rules, Regulations, Office Orders, Memorandums etc. which prohibit and penalise discrimination, hate speech and targeted action against religious minorities by policemen on duty.”
The footage of policemen assaulting already injured men, along with other incidents of inaction during the riots, supported allegations made by some victims that the Delhi police acted partially during the riots.
A report by NGO Amnesty International in August 2020 accused the Delhi police of being complicit in the riots and accused it of committing serious human rights violations. The report criticised the Union home ministry for its failure to “hold the Delhi police accountable.”
“This, despite several of their (police’s) violations being live-streamed on social media platforms,” the report said.