Updated: March 13, 2020 3:11:41 am
Police, in a press conference Thursday, said the accused have been identified as Saleem Malik, Mohd Jalaluddin, Mohd Ayub, Mohd Yunus, Arif, Saleem Khan — all residents of Chand Bagh — and Md Danish from Loni.
DCP (Crime) Rajesh Deo said the men have been arrested on charges of rioting, conspiring to attack police officers and other IPC sections. “Charges of murder will be confirmed after further interrogation,” he said.
According to police, a group of protesters had clashed with personnel on February 24 and Lal was allegedly shot dead. Along with Lal, DCP (Shahdara) Amit Sharma and ACP (Gokalpuri) Anuj Kumar were attacked by the crowd. While Lal was declared dead on arrival by doctors, senior officers sustained severe head injuries and had to undergo surgery.
A week before the arrest, police went door to door in the Northeast district to gather videos that could show how they were attacked by a mob on February 24. Police collected five videos, which showed the mob surrounding the team near Chand Bagh. Gunshots could be heard even as the crowd beat up DCP Sharma with sticks and stones. Police were equipped with anti-riot gear but were outnumbered, an officer said.
A senior police officer claimed, “Lal succumbed to bullet injuries during the clash. A case had been registered at Dayalpur police station and seven men have been arrested. During investigation, we found that a conspiracy was hatched to attack police.”
Police said the accused were identified using ‘facial recognition software’, which was also mentioned by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament Wednesday. A senior police officer said, “We have been using this software for over a year to trace missing children but this is the first time it has been used in a riot. We’ve identified over 1,000 suspects by running the footage we’ve received past it and then matching it with the database we have.”
Police said that initially, over 15 men were detained in connection with the head constable case. After interrogation, police arrested the seven men who, they said, allegedly attacked Lal with weapons. Police claimed the accused men conspired to attack personnel and were also active rioters in the area.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police spokesperson M S Randhawa said 3,340 people have been detained or arrested in connection with the violence and 712 FIRs have been registered. Out of these, 51 cases have been registered under the Arms Act and 54 people have been arrested under sections of the Act.
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