Opposing her bail plea in connection with a Northeast Delhi riot case, Delhi Police told the Delhi High Court that they do not have videos of Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita making hate speeches.
The submission was made by the investigating officer of the case when Justice Suresh Kumar Kait repeatedly asked Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing on behalf of Delhi Police, if police had any portion of the speech in which she allegedly instigated the crowd in Jafrabad. Reserving its order on the bail plea, the court gave both parties time till Monday to file their written submissions. Kalita has been in judicial custody since May.
Kalita, represented by her counsel Kapil Sibal, told the court that the chargesheet has already been filed against her and she is no longer required for investigation. Sibal argued before the court, “Delhi Police has said that she doesn’t appear in any CCTV footage or any other video.” He contended that Kalita is a tremendous academic and it is her right to participate in a protest for issues she feels passionately about.
ASG Raju told the court, “She regularly instigated the protesters, rioters against CAA-NRC and also instigated to be violent and use force… the accused started visiting Northeast area since December 2019 and instigated uneducated ladies and youth against CAA-NRC by giving hate speeches… They gave some speeches that CAA was anti-Muslim and would be forced to show documents, and later on Muslims would be thrown out of the country… that in Assam Muslims are treated badly, they are kept in detention centres…”
Justice Kait said, “Do you have any of the part of speech?” The ASG read a portion of a disclosure statement, when Justice Kait interrupted him and said, “Show me any portion of the speech recorded by media, recorded by anyone, that she went and instigated the mob to commit crime. You are referring to a disclosure statement and a disclosure statement is not admissible…”
The ASG said, “I am not reading the disclosure statement to tell her role. We are just showing how we zeroed in on her…”
Justice Kait said, “During this time, media was there. I want to know what she said which instigated the mob to commit further crime.” When the ASG said that as per the IO, media was not present at the time, Justice Kait said, “Was the police there? If yes, then police are supposed to record something…” The ASG said, “There were a lot of people who participated in that protest, it is not possible to expect CCTV footage to capture faces of all of them.”
During the arguments, advocate Rajiv Kishan Sharma, claiming to be Special Public Prosecutor appointed by Delhi Police, appeared through video conference while standing in the middle of a road. Justice Kait pulled him up for not briefing the ASG, and asked him not to behave like this was a “television debate”.
When the court asked Sharma if police have any videos, he said, “We have all the photographs and videos in this regard. The IO has them.” Justice Kait then summoned the IO and asked about the video.
The IO told the court, “We have video recordings and pictures but not of hate speeches, but it confirms their presence. Before the incident, when they were instigating people, we have those videos; on (February) 22-23 when they were sitting here, we have those videos. But we don’t have videos of them making hate speeches.”
Following this, the IO was directed to submit the videos by Friday evening to the court.
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