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Northeast Delhi riots: Four years on, where do the 700 cases registered in its aftermath stand? | Delhi News


Four years since the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots, verdicts have been pronounced in 88 of the 695 cases of rioting, arson, and unlawful assembly filed by the district police.

Of these, The Indian Express looked at 85 judgments and found that 68 resulted in acquittals (80%) and 16 in convictions (20%). The acquittals, records show, are split evenly between the two communities.

Police sources told The Indian Express that of these 695 cases, chargesheets have been filed in 367 (53%); 14 cases were discharged (no prima facie evidence found during the stage of charge); four were quashed (cancellation of FIRs); and five were cancelled (closure reports were filed).

Police sources also stated that in the 695 cases, 47 persons were convicted whereas 183 were acquitted. While 1,738 people are out on bail, 108 are in jail. Moreover, 50 have been discharged.

The Indian Express looked at the 68 acquittals and found the following:

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– In 18 acquittals, courts noted that police identified the accused after considerable delay. In many cases, their testimonies became doubtful in the absence of police station records.
– In 16 acquittals, there were contradictions in the statements of police witnesses or police officers.

– In 13 acquittals, police witnesses identified the accused, saying that they knew them before the riots broke out. However, their testimonies did not stand the test of trial.

– In seven acquittals, the court noted that the witnesses, during cross-examination, stated that they were “suffering from memory loss” or other illnesses which made it difficult for them to identify the accused and “were also taking medicine for the same”.

– In one, there was only a single public witness whose testimony the court found to be not substantive.

– In another, the court was doubtful that the police witnesses, who were the only eyewitnesses in the case, were present when the incident occurred.

– In one acquittal, a video wasn’t considered as evidence because it wasn’t tested for tampering and the FSL report for the video was missing.

– In another, the court noted that the sole witness could have been tutored by the investigating officer.

– One acquittal, the court noted, was a case of double jeopardy — the accused was already convicted in another FIR with similar allegations.

– In another, the court noted that a police witness, who was the eyewitness, identified the accused but saw him at a different property than the one where the incident took place.

– In four acquittals, the court noted that the police deposed in “a general way”.

In the case of 45 acquittals out of 68, witnesses (either some or all) turned hostile. In three acquittals, police could not trace the eyewitnesses. Further, in the vast majority of acquittals, while a case of rioting or unlawful assembly was made out, the witnesses were unable to identify the accused.
When contacted, the Delhi Police did not respond to questions seeking comment.

Police sources told The Indian Express that apart from the 695 cases, 62 other riot cases were transferred to the Crime Branch — taking the total to 757. In these 62 cases, charges were framed in 39 and 424 accused were arrested, according to sources. One person was convicted, 331 people are out on bail and 52 are still in jail.





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