Shahrukh Pathan, who was pictured pointing a pistol at a policeman during the Northeast Delhi riots, got excited after watching a YouTube video on anti-CAA protests at Maujpur Chowk, his disclosure statement to police has said. Following this, he joined the protest, pelted stones and fired at police officers, it stated.
A photo of him brandishing the pistol had gone viral online. “I dropped out of BA second-year course. My brother and I work in socks manufacturing… On 23/02/2020 I saw on YouTube that a protest against CAA was underway at Maujpur Chowk and got excited. On 24/02/2020 around 11 am, I went to Maujpur Chowk, where two groups, pro-CAA and anti-CAA, started pelting stones at each other. I also started pelting stones, and I also had a pistol with me, which I pointed at police officers and fired. I can identify the other accused from the protest footage and help in their arrest. I made a mistake, please forgive me,” Shahrukh’s statement read.
Police have named him in two cases. He has been charged with rioting and other relevant sections for allegedly pointing a gun at head constable Deepak Dahiya during the riots on February 24. He was arrested from Uttar Pradesh in March and is currently in judicial custody.
He is also named in the chargesheet in connection with the Maujpur incident on February 24, where violence broke out between anti- and pro-CAA groups and spread to other parts of Northeast Delhi, along with four other accused, Salman, Gulfam, Aatir and Osama, who are all in judicial custody.
Shahrukh’s lawyer Asghar Khan said, “I am yet to get the chargesheet because of difficulties posed by coronavirus. However… it has been argued before the Delhi High Court during his bail hearing that Shahrukh never fired at anyone but fired in the air in self-defence.”
In the present case, two policemen, constables Raman and Deepak, sustained injuries due to stonepelting and passerby Rohit Shukla sustained gunshot injuries. As per the chargesheet, constable Raman could not identify the rioters who injured him. Shukla identified Aatir, Gulfam and Osama through their photographs.
A third witness, a local belan maker, disclosed the name of one Sajjad after he was shown CCTV footage from Gali 13 in Brahmpuri. Police said this “was far away from the present incident spot” and “does not directly show accused Sajjad as a part of the mob at Maujpur Chowk”.
But since the witness confirmed Sajjad’s presence at the Main Jafrabad road, police said he was a “part of the menacing mob, which was on the move causing riots”. Sajjad has not been traced by police, the chargesheet stated.
The chargesheet stated that Maujpur Chowk was being used as “a symbolic place by anti-CAA and NRC protestors since long, where they used to come and light candles to signify their protest and went back afterwards”.
It further said that on February 23, CAA supporters protested against the road blockage, and on February 24, even after issuing prohibitory orders, the protests in Maujpur were “peaceful but it soon became violent and led to incidents of stonepelting, brick batting, arson, firing and sabotage from both sides, and led to injuries to several police personnel as well as public persons and created an atmosphere of fear among public”.
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