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Delhi riot chargesheet details how fake messages were weaponised by mob

The police say that “in order to take revenge from Muslims, some youths of that area failed to perceive the bottomless stupidity of the propaganda and, as saviours of their community, created a WhatsApp group”.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi | Updated: October 10, 2020 8:11:35 am
delhi riots, north east delhi riots, delhi riots probe, delhi city news, delhi police, delhi govt, indian express, delhi riots firBhalla told the meeting that he will seek the Law department’s opinion on the police stand. Delhi Police had earlier written to the state government, saying it cannot share the 754 riot-related FIRs as they are “sensitive” in nature. (Express Archive)

Misleading WhatsApp messages on Muslim migration into Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, how to spot 12 signs of Jihad, and calls for economic boycott of Muslims. These are some of the chats the Delhi Police has flagged in its supplementary chargesheet in the murder of a Muslim man, in context of a WhatsApp group called ‘Kattar Hindut Ekta’.

The police say that “in order to take revenge from Muslims, some youths of that area failed to perceive the bottomless stupidity of the propaganda and, as saviours of their community, created a WhatsApp group”.

As per the chargesheet, on February 25, a day after the riots began, the same message was shared by two members of the group, at 9.42 am and a minute later: “The Hindus are in large numbers. There is tension in the air but still elderly Muslims are not scared. They know about Hindu’s culture. But just think can a Hindu safely pass through when there is a Muslim crowd.”

Read | ‘Witness list in Delhi riots case accidentally shared with riot accused’

This was followed by a suggestion to make videos that “capture if Hindus are dying” so that “Muslims can be punished for it”.

Soon after, four participants left the group, following which they were branded Muslims and participants encouraged to track them down. At one point, participants sent out messages about a “fight between Hindu, Muslim”. There were multiple requests by participants to share their location. Several put up videos apparently of the riot spots.

Two hours later, at 2.16 pm, a member said, “Brother, I caught a Muslim”, and added that he attacked him. This was followed by a call by one member to target Muslim women.

Following this, a long message was shared on the group asking members to “not shoot or swing a sword” but “boycott Muslims economically” since “many countries around the world have adopted this message”, which was “not illegal or creates violence”. Another long message, at 6.03 pm, addressed to “Uttarakhand brothers”, stated that “Muslims have migrated in large numbers” to Uttar Pradesh and several “beautiful Uttarakhand’s famous religious places”, and asked participants to “not come in the greed for Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500” by “giving them houses on rent” and “ruin their children’s future”.

At one point, at 6.59 pm, a power cut in Bhagirathi Vihar was communicated to the group members as a call to action. The participants asked “All Hindus to be prepared” to “break Muslims”.

One participant, identified as Binni, sent out a message at 8.01pm: “People from the RSS have come in support”, which was then followed by a message, “9 Muslims have been killed in Brijpuri puliya… Keep up the courage… the work has begun.”

The police have identified only Binni and Lokesh Solanki, who is among those arrested, among the participants. Some of the others named did not put up inflammatory chats.

Binni went on to provide updates of the violence. “Number 1 Masjid has been set on fire”. Then, “Burn everything they own, like we burnt their Masjid”. He followed this with a call to participants to gather around the mosque the following morning to “install a statue” to “take over their land”.

This was followed by a participant saying at 12.45 am on February 26, “There is a lot of noise coming from the other side of the drain. Prepare for war”. This was followed by a suggestion by a member, “Brothers, we must use Har Har Mahadev slogans. Muslims are using Jai Shri Ram slogans.” Binni responded: “Brothers, listen. Today everyone prepare yourselves. We are going to attack Fatima Masjid.” The mosque was torched in the riots.

Later on February 26, Solanki posted his first message, introducing himself, “… I have come with my Ganga Vihar team. We have everything… bullets, gun. Everything.” One user responded, “Do you have .315 bore bullet?”

A participant asked some group members to come to their aid at Bhagirathi Vihar’s Gali No. 13 where a “local RSS member” was under threat as “some Muslims are making plans to corner his house”. Binni responded, “Scare them away. They are all scared today.” One user posted an update about targeting a Muslim “around 9 pm”.

One of the last messages shared on the group was a long WhatsApp post at 11.39 pm on February 26, listing 12 “signs of Jihad” used to “psychologically break down Hindus”. The riots ended by February 26.

Nine people are under judicial custody in connection with the case — Lokesh Kumar Solanki, Pankaj Sharma, Summit Chaudhary, Ankit Chaudhary, Prince, Jatin Sharma, Vivek Panchal, Rishabh Chaudhary, and Himanshu Thakur — and nine absconding. Earlier in June, the court had taken cognizance of the chargesheet.

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