The bail of eight people allegedly involved in the recent communal clashes at Delhi’s Jahangirpuri has been rejected by a local court, which said the accused are well-known local criminals and their release may intimidate witnesses. The judge also reprimanded the Delhi Police for not stopping the illegal procession and demanded that the police chief investigate the matter and fix accountability among the officers involved.
Twenty people were arrested over the violence in the northwest Delhi locality that took place during a Ram Navami procession last month, in which eight policemen and a civilian were injured. It was found later that the procession took place without police permission and the altercation with members of the minority community took place in presence of the police.
Instead of stopping the illegal procession and dispersing the crowd, the police officers were seen accompanying it on the route, the court said.
“The contents of the FIR itself show that the local staff of police station Jahangirpuri, led by Inspector Rajiv Ranjan as well as other officials… were accompanying the said illegal procession,” the judge said.
“It prima facie reflects the utter failure on the part of local police in stopping the said procession having no permission,” he said, adding that the matter seems to have been brushed aside by senior officers.
Dependra Pathak, a senior officer of the Delhi police, had explained the presence of the force during the procession, saying, “It is the responsibility of Police to maintain law and order”.
“If a situation is sensitive and there is a congregation then we have to ensure it doesn’t worsen. That is why we had adequate policemen were there to cover and we were successful in containing the clashes in minimum time,” he had told reporters on April 19.
Accountability “should be fixed on the guilty officers so that such incidents do not happen in future and the police do not fail to stop illegal activities,” the judge said yesterday, ordering the police chief to investigate the matter.
The violence in Jahangirpuri was one of many that broke out across four states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal — during Ram Navami, the festival which marks the birth of Hindu God Ram.
Days later, the civic authorities in Delhi razed a part of the area despite a Supreme Court order to stop demolition.
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