New Delhi: A readymade garments trader whose shop and house was looted by rioters during the North East Delhi riots on February 25 has filed a writ petition in the Delhi high court accusing the Delhi police of not registering a proper FIR on his complaint. He has also accused the local BJP councillor Kanhaiya Lal of making those he had accused in his complaint call and threaten him.
Plea seeks registration of FIR on complaint, protection for victim
In the petition, filed through advocates M.R. Shamshad and Aditya Samaddar last week, the complainant, Nisar Ahmed, has listed the Delhi police commissioner and the Delhi chief secretary as respondents. The plea has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India regarding non-registration of FIR and seeks issuance of a protection order for him.
The petition states that Ahmed, a resident of F-61/1 Bhagirathi Vihar, used to earn his livelihood by selling and distributing readymade garments from his home but after the violence he and his family have been reduced to penury and have become dependent on donations for survival.
How pro-CAA slogans turned to calls for violence against Muslims
The petition notes how violence began near Ahmed’s residence. It stated that at about 4 pm on February 24, some locals started a protest in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act. “A mic and speakers were set up at the intersection of Main Nala Road and Kashyap Road, right in front of the Axis Bank ATM, in Bhagirathi Vihar. The mic and speakers were set up by Vikas Kashyap, Golu, Gaurav Dabra, Mukesh Masterji, Kanhaiyalal, Sonu Kuttewala, Michael, Mowgli, Tinku and others from the locality, their formal names have been used where it is known,” the date-wise synopsis pointed out. Initially slogans in support of CAA were raised.
Then, it said, “right after the Magrib Namaz, at about 7.30 pm, as it got darker, the slogans being broadcast from the mic changed to statements like ‘kattuo ko bhagao yahan se’ and ‘maaro in mullo ko’.”
Police did not respond as Muslims were ‘identified and killed’
Thereafter, the petition stated that the crowd swelled to over 500 and began stopping people and ascertaining their religion. “If it was found that the individual was Muslim by way of identification documents or by making him pulling down his pants, he was cut down with swords and agricultural implements. Some managed to escape death but were brutally beaten up with pipes and lathis (sticks) as they pleaded for their lives. The women were not spared either. Of the very few women who were outside, any woman wearing a burqa or who otherwise looked Muslim was killed with swords. The bodies of the deceased were thrown into the Bhagirathi Vihar Nala (drain),” the petition stated.
It added that Ahmed called the police control room number, 100, from his mobile phone but while those answering the call would say that “police was on its way” not a single police officer showed up.
Mob attacked Ahmed’s godown and house, looted garments and valuables
Ahmed also noted how at around 8 pm, “open loot and arson” began and during this “ Mukesh Masterji was giving instructions to Michael and some other people to disable the CCTV cameras.” The genocide and looting continued all night, the petition added.
The following day at around 9.30 am, the petition said Sonu Kuttewala, Michael, Mowgli and Tinku reached Ahmed’s house along with a crowd of around 200 people and Michael started breaking the gate. “Sonu Kuttewala used a crowbar to pry open and raised the shutter of the petitioner’s shop and godown of readymade garments … all the stock worth about [Rs] 10 lakhs was looted.”
His three motorcycles were also dragged out and torched by the mob.
Ahmed’s family escaped violence by climbing down a ladder from third floor
As the mob also looted jewellery and other valuables from the house and came after them, Ahmed’s family ran upstairs for cover, bolting and locking the steel door on the third floor behind them. From the third floor the family escaped to safety by climbing down with the help of a ladder provided by neighbour. The neighbours also assisted the family in reaching the main road at around 3 pm. The mob completely looted the house and set alight whatever remained.
The petition also stated how it took three days for Ahmed to trace his “mentally differently abled brother,” who could not be rescued from the area on February 25.
Thereafter began Ahmed’s struggle to get a police complaint registered. On March 3, when he went to the Gokulpuri police station he was told to submit an unnamed complaint of theft. He declined saying he would return with a written complaint. On March 4, Ahmed submitted a written complaint to the SHO about the violence and named Mowgli, Michael and Tinku as accused. He followed up with another detailed complaint on March 18.
In the petition, Ahmed has stated that on March 20 he received a notice on FIR No. 106, which was registered on the complaint of some Iliyash, and was asked to submit his phone to Sub-Inspector Ashish Garg.
After BJP councillor’s call, locals began urging Ahmed to ‘settle matter’
Then began the harassment of Ahmed by those he had accused. He also accused local councillor of intervening on behalf of the culprits. On April 2, the petition said, “One Gagan who represents himself to be with Delhi Police called the petitioner and made him speak to Kanhaiya Lal (BJP Councillor).”
The councillor enquired “how Mowgli was being investigated for his role” in the riots and questioned Ahmed if he had named Mowgli in his complaint. Thereafter, Ahmed started “receiving calls from local residents, both known and unknown to him enquiring into his FIR and calling him to meet and settle the matter.”
Several accused reached Ahmed’s house, threatened family
The petition also stated that on May 23, Ahmed submitted a complaint to the Gokulpuri SHO about some people threatening him at his home on May 4. In the complaint Ahmed had accused one Vikas Kashyap of telling him not to return and to sell his house to him for Rs 5 lakh – saying he would otherwise get killed “unnecessarily.”
The same day, it said “Vikas Kashyap, Golu, Michael, Sonu Kuttewala and Mowgli visited the petitioner’s house when he had gone to take whatever was left. Vikas Kashyap and Golu’s mother threatened the petitioner to take back his complaint.”
Police did not act on threats, Ahmed’s apprehension of harm
The petition also stated that while Gokulpuri issued notices to Ahmed in three FIRs (102, 103 and 104) and made him execute three bonds for personal appearance under Code of Criminal Procedure, it did not act on his complaints that his life and that of his family was in danger. “The repeated pleas of the petitioner of receiving threatening phone calls and apprehension of physical danger to self and family went unheard and no copy of FIR was given to the petitioner,” the petition said.
Meanwhile, the petition said, even till June, the threats to Ahmed have continued. On June 7, one Avadesh Mishra called him and enquired in a “gravely threatening manner” as to why his name was mentioned in the complaint. This despite Ahmed not naming him in any of his complaints – of March 4, March 18 or May 23.
Accused mounting pressure on Ahmed’s sister
Further, Ahmed received a call from one Gagan, who claimed to be from Delhi police, on June 21. “He is heard inquiring into the details of the petitioner’s complaint and instructing him to ensure that Mowgli is not prosecuted,” the petition said. Two days later, Ahmed got a call from Vikas Kashyap saying he wanted to meet him.
The petition said on June 24, Vikas Kashyap visited his sister’s house in Bhagirathi Vihar. From there he called Ahmed and told him to speak to her. When Ahmed refused, Kashyap spoke to him and was “repeatedly heard telling the petitioner to take back his name”.
‘Police, councillor creating false impression around Ahmed’s influence on cases’
The petition said after this episode, Ahmed’s sister and her family visited him and urged him to take back the complaint. Stating that his “sister and her family fear physical danger”, the petition said Ahmed and his loved ones were being “harassed and threatened almost daily to take back the names of those who he has named in the FIR.”
It added that some Delhi police personnel and the BJP councillor were also spreading misinformation that it was because of Ahmed’s statement that people are being named, investigated or arrested in any FIR relating to the riots in the area.