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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Delhi riots: Court frames murder charges against six men for murder of 85-year-old woman

All the six accused — Varun Kumar, Arun Kumar, Vishal Singh, Ravi Kumar, Prakash Chand and Suresh Singh have pleaded not guilty and will face trial in the matter.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
April 8, 2021 1:21:59 pm
53 people had lost their lives in the riots. (File Photo)

A Delhi court has framed murder charges against six men in the case of an 85-year-old woman, who choked to death when her house was torched during the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February last year.

All the six accused — Varun Kumar, Arun Kumar, Vishal Singh, Ravi Kumar, Prakash Chand and Suresh Singh have pleaded not guilty and will face trial in the matter.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav framed charges under sections 302 (Punishment for Murder), 307(Attempt to murder), 143 (Punishment.—Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting armed with deadly weapon), 455 (Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 396 (Dacoity with murder), 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc).

The accused persons Arun and Varun have also been charged under sections 201 IPC (Causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC by the court which noted that the accused persons “after committing the offence destroyed the clothes worn by both of you at the time of commission of offence to cause disappearance of evidence.”

In its order, the court said that “all of you being members of unlawful assembly along with your other associates (unidentified) formed an unlawful assembly and used force or violence in prosecution of a common object of such assembly and in violation of Proclamation of issued under Section 144 IPC by the competent authority and committed rioting and you knew being members of the aforesaid unlawful assembly that an offence was likely to be committed in prosecution of that common object…”

“You all being members of unlawful assembly along with your other associates (unidentified) put on fire the house of complainant Mohd Saeed Salmani as a result of which his mother Akbari Begum died due to suffocation (asphyxia due to inhalation of smoke) and as such committed an offence punishable under section 302 IPC read with section 149 IPC and within my cognizance.”

According to the charge sheet, on February 25, when the mob torched Akbari Begum’s house, other members escaped to the roof but Begum could not.

She subsequently died due to asphyxia (suffocation due to inhalation of smoke) and her charred body was found on a folding bed, police had said.

An FIR was registered on the complaint of her son Saeed Salmani who had a garment shop on the ground floor of the building.

In his complaint, he said his four-storey building was allegedly torched by the mob who destroyed his garment workshop, burnt his house and looted jewellery and cash from them.

Begum’s charred body was recovered when the police officials and the fire department were able to douse the blaze, the police had said.

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