'No Progress in Probe,' Delhi HC Takes Note of Plea by Mother of Victim in 'National Anthem' Video

The video, which showed five men writhing in pain, while they were being beaten with batons by police who had asked them to sing the National Anthem, had gone viral.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has directed the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch to file a status report on the investigation into the death of the Muslim man who was seen in a video being beaten by police personnel who had asked him and others to sing the National Anthem during the February riots.

LiveLaw has reported on how a petition by one of the victim’s mothers has alleged that even after nine months, little progress has been made in the probe. The petition has called for a court-monitored Special Investigation Team to take over the investigation. The court has issued notice on the plea.

The video, which showed five men lying and writhing in pain, while they were being kicked, prodded and beaten with batons by police, had gone viral. In the course of the video, police asked the men to sing the National Anthem, which they did, in their wounded state.

While the video surfaced on February 25, it was recorded by the assaulting policemen on the previous night at northeast Delhi’s Kardam Puri.

Of the men, the story of 23-year-old Faizan who sustained bullet injuries, is particularly gruesome and ends in his death a day later.

On March 3, The Wire spoke to Faizan’s mother Kismatun, who confirmed that he was one of the men seen in the video.

She also claimed that her son had died because of the police’s assault.

In her plea which the Delhi high court has taken note of, Kismatun has said that in the night before he died, Faizan had recounted to his mother the torture that had been inflicted upon him.

LiveLaw has reported on the plea, noting that it “is contended in the plea that the injured Faizan had been kept in illegal detention at the Jyoti Nagar Police Station, and 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,” states the plea, according to LiveLaw.

An FIR was filed on February 28 at the Bhajanpura police station in connection with the incident. The case was later transferred to the Crime Branch.

Calling the Crime Branche’s probe into the murder case a “sham,” Kismatun’s plea asks that police file periodic status reports and an action taken report with the court, citing what efforts it has taken to ensure personnel do not repeat such biased action.

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 matter has been listed for February 1, 2021.