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17,000-page chargesheet filed against 15 for riots conspiracy

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NEW DELHI: A little less than 200 days after filing an FIR to investigate the conspiracy behind the riots that rocked northeast Delhi in February this year,

Delhi Police

’s special cell on Wednesday filed a 17,000-page chargesheet against 15 people, all anti-CAA protesters, in a city court. This was the culmination of the first phase of the probe.

The chargesheet has named as accused, among others, United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi; Congress ex-councillor Ishrat Jahan; AAP ex-councillor Tahir Hussain; RJD youth wing’s Meeran Haider; Pinjda Tod activists Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita.

Six other accused —

Umar Khalid

,

Sharjeel Imam

, Danish, Parvez, Ilyas and Faizal Khan — have been arrested in this case but not named in this chargesheet. Police will file supplementary chargesheets naming them and other people who may be arrested. The accused have been charged under a plethora of sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Took weeks of planning, says chargesheet

The Indian Penal Code sections pertain to criminal conspiracy (120B) read with murder, sedition, promoting enmity between two groups, rioting, dacoity and several others. Sections of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Arms Act have also been invoked.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat at the Karkardooma courts in the capital.

Delhi Police have said in the chargesheet that the top conspirators were directly in touch with the men on the ground when the violence broke out on February 24. “Multiple

Whatsapp

groups were made dedicated to 20 sites where anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests were taking place. There was a systematic mobilisation of the crowd to incite violence in the garb of anti-CAA protests,” the police told the court.

The police have also concluded that the riots and protests were funded by several groups, including PFI, and it took weeks of planning to stock weapons, stones, arms and ammunition like Molotov cocktails on terraces to be used in the riots, thereby indicating a premeditated conspiracy.

Delhi Police said that during their investigation, they examined and listed 747 witnesses to back their case. The witnesses include “insiders” who have helped the cops understand how the Whatsapp groups were used to coordinate the protests. These “insiders” are learnt to have recorded their statements before a magistrate under section 164 ofCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which is admissible as evidence. In their statements, the witnesses have explained how these groups were created for the sole purpose of violence and riots.

A major portion of the evidence is in electronic form as the data from 75 electronic devices seized from the accused have been analysed and enclosed with the chargesheet. The extracted data from the devices includes text messages and Whatsapp chats between individuals and groups.

“Based upon scientific, documentary and testimonial evidence, 15 accused have now been charge-sheeted out of 21 persons arrested so far. The remaining six persons are expected to be chargesheeted in due course after collecting sufficient evidence and completing statutory and procedural requirements,” the police said.

“The chargesheet submitted today runs into 11 volumes, totalling over 17,000 pages. The hon’ble court has been requested to take cognizance of the offences and begin the trial of the chargesheeted accused persons,” the police added.

In a statement released after filing of the chargesheet, Delhi Police said: “Claims amounting to more than Rs 20 crore to compensate for loss of property have been filed before the GNCTD, which indicates the scale and immense cost of the tragedy.” The statement said that around 16,000 PCR calls had been received during the violence and 751 cases were registered by the police. “Fifty nine cases were assigned to an SIT constituted in the Crime Branch, 691 cases were investigated by the district police and one case which was registered on March 6, 2020 to investigate the larger conspiracy behind these riots was assigned to the Special Cell.”

“In the course of investigation of the 750 FIRs registered concerning the specific offences committed during the riots, 12 pistols, 121 empty cartridges, 92 live cartridges, 61 glass bottles filled with noxious chemicals and an assortment of sharp-edged weapons have been seized so far by Delhi Police,” said the statement.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Bihar elections: Congress gives RJD ultimatum on seats

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NEW DELHI: Congress has conveyed to Rashtriya Janata Dal that it should wind up seat-sharing negotiations within next few days and respect Congress’s choice of constituencies, with senior members saying that failure to pay heed may even result in a break-up ahead of Bihar elections.

While the Congress-RJD alliance has all along appeared firm and Congress even ready to project Tejashwi Yadav as the chief ministerial face, sources said that the party wants a ch-ange in the terms of negotiations that have been established over decades between the two partners.

Congress is learned to have given a list of 75 constituencies to RJD with the wish that it should be considered as its tally. While the numbers are an issue, it is the specific seats demanded by Congress that is prolonging the negotiations.

Bihar elections: Full coverage

Some of the seats demanded by Congress are the ones that have a strong RJD base and are high on winnability quotient. The Yadav outfit appears reluctant to part with those seats. Congress feels that if it cannot benefit from the support base of RJD, then the alliance is not sincere.

“The dragging of negotiations to the last minute, which forces Congress to accept less than acceptable terms, has been happening for very long. This time we are serious that this style has to change and RJD should accommodate our demands,” a senior Congress functionary said, adding that “if our demand is not accepted, we can go our way and forge a separate alliance.”

Bihar elections: Live updates

Sources said September-end is the deadline set by Congress for winding up negotiations with RJD.

Top Congress functionaries said that the party is keeping all its options open with a plan B. “We have started talks with NCP, Yashwant Sinha, VIP and RLSP. We have to be ready with an alternative, “ a senior AICC member said. Congress believes that if it breaks with RJD then VIP and RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha will also not leave the alliance since Kushwaha’s objection is to Tejashwi Yadav’s projection.

What is interesting is that while Congress and RJD both are trying hard to finalise the deal, the two partners have still not made a joint public statement to sound the bugle for the election in which they would be taking on the ruling combine of JD(U)-BJP.

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INDIA

PM Modi presents upbeat, forward-looking Indian agenda at UN

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NEW DELHI: An assurance that India will use its vaccine production and delivery capacities for the benefit of the entire world, a strong pitch for UN reforms and a subtle message to China — that India’s friendship with any country is not targeted at a third country — formed the highlights of PM Narendra Modi‘s virtual address to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

While his Pakistani counterpart, Imran Khan, had stridently targeted India on the Kashmir issue in his address on Friday, Modi ignored Pakistan altogether while mentioning the need to counter terrorism and drugs in his speech which emphasised that India will not hesitate to raise its voice against “enemies of humanity”.

Modi spoke passionately on the need for UN reforms in his pre-recorded message as he sought to know how long was India going to be kept out of the decision-making structures of the world body despite its large population and successful democracy.

He said reform in the responses, processes and in the character of the UN is the need of the hour and that every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the UN, aspired for India’s expanded role in the United Nations, which enjoyed a high credibility in the country.

It has been 75 years since the @UN was formed. The world of 2020 is vastly different from the world of 1945. What… https://t.co/VnOUSDonno

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1601137160000

“When we were strong, we did not trouble the world; when we were weak, we did not become a burden on the world. How long would a country have to wait particularly when the changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?” he asked, adding that India was also the country that had lost the maximum number of soldiers in the course of UN peacekeeping missions. “Today, the people of India are concerned whether this reform-process will ever reach its logical conclusion,” he said.

Modi said the Indian pharma industry had sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries. “As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis,” he said, adding that the Indian government is moving ahead with Phase 3 clinical trials within the country and in the neighbourhood.

India will do everything possible to further global good including the battle against COVID-19 pandemic. At the s… https://t.co/Tu0QGDSrgf

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1601137549000

India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines, he said. Significantly, even as the border situation with China remains tense, Modi said any “gesture of friendship” by India towards one country is not against someone else and that its approach towards the Indo-Pacific is guided by a desire for security and growth for all. Both China and Russia continue to nurse reservations about the Indo-Pacific concept and see it as a US-led initiative to contain Beijing. India maintains though that the Indo-Pacific is a free, open, transparent and inclusive concept with Asean at its centre and that it excludes nobody.

Modi also sought to know where the UN was in the joint fight against the novel coronavirus. “The whole world is fighting the global pandemic of corona for the last 8-9 months. Where is its (UN’s) effective response?” he asked.

Modi also said, in an obvious dig at China’s Belt Road Initiative, that when India strengthens its development partnership, it is not with any mala fide intent of making the partner country dependent or hapless. “We have never hesitated from sharing experiences of our development,” he said.

As India prepares to take over as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, Modi said the country will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human values — terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money laundering.

Modi also said India is moving forward with the vision of “self-reliant India” in the changed circumstances of the post-pandemic era. “A self-reliant India will also be a force multiplier for the global economy. Today, it is also being ensured that there is no discrimination in extending the benefits of all the schemes to every citizen of the country,” he said.

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INDIA

Farmers’ ‘victory’, Akali Dal had to bow before their doorstep: Congress

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NEW DELHI: Reacting to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) quitting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm bills issue, the Congress on Saturday said it was the “victory” of farmers that the Akali Dal had to bow before their doorstep and break ties with the ruling coalition.

The SAD is the third major party to walk out of the BJP-led coalition in the last couple of years.

Reacting to the development, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hailed it as a “victory” of “farmers-labourers”.

“Supporters of black laws, Akali Dal, had to leave NDA and break ties with the Modi government,” he said.

“They had to bow at the doorstep of farmers-labourers,” Surjewala tweeted, tagging an old clip of Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal defending the farm ordinances in an interview she gave when she was a Union minister.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, “Clearly @Akali_Dal_ was left with no choice after @BJP4India exposed that @Officeofssbadal and his SAD were fully party to Anti-Farmer legislations.”

“The end of the coalition is only an outcome of 3 months of deceit…of defending the indefensible and misguiding the Punjab farmer,” he said.

आख़िर किसान-मज़दूर की जीत हुई,काले क़ानूनों के समर्थक अकाली दल को NDA छोड़ मोदी सरकार से रिश्ता तोड़ना पड़ा,कि… https://t.co/b4asoYTRBC

— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) 1601142951000

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal announced the decision to snap ties with the NDA on Saturday night, amid stepped up agitation by farmers in Punjab over the three legislations which were recently passed by Parliament amid Opposition protests.

Badal’s wife and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had on September 17 quit the Union Cabinet after he strongly opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, claiming these legislations will “destroy” the agriculture sector in Punjab.

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