A Delhi court dismissed the bail application of former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain in three cases related to the Northeast Delhi riots, observing that he was a sitting AAP councillor at the time of the riots and “used his muscle power and political clout to act as a kingpin in planning, instigating and fanning the flames of communal conflagration”.
The observations were made by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav in an order on Thursday, in which he agreed with Special Public Prosecutor Manoj Choudhary’s argument that Tahir claiming parity with co-accused who are enlarged on bail was “illogical because the role assigned to him in the matters is totally different and distinct from rest of the co-accused persons”.
ASJ Yadav, in his order, wrote, “It is noteworthy that at the time of eruption of communal riots in the area(s) of Northeast Delhi, the applicant has been in a powerful position (being sitting councillor of the area from the Aam Aadmi Party) and it is prima facie apparent that he used his muscle power and political clout to act as a kingpin in planning, instigating and fanning the flames of communal conflagration. Therefore, at this stage, I find that there is enough material on record to presume that the applicant was very well present at the spot of crime and was exhorting rioters of a particular community and as such, he did not use his hands and fists, but rioters as ‘human weapons’, who on his instigation could have killed anybody.”
Drawing parallels with the Partition and Delhi riots, the court said, “It is common knowledge that the dreary day of 24.02.2020 saw parts of Northeast Delhi gripped by a communal frenzy, reminiscent of carnage during the days of Partition. Soon, the riots spread like wildfire across the smoke-grey skyline of the Capital, engulfing new areas and snuffing out more and more innocent lives. The Delhi riots 2020 are a gaping wound in the conscience of a nation aspiring to be a major global power. The allegations against the applicant are extremely grave in nature.”
Tahir’s lawyer, senior advocate KK Manan, had argued that Tahir “has been caught in a political cross-fire and the allegations levelled against him are nothing but a political blame game to malign his image”. Manan argued, “There is no evidence by way of even a single video or CCTV footage to prove the applicant had participated in the riots or caused damage to property.”
The court, however, did not agree with his submissions and said, “Even if there were no direct acts of violence attributable to the applicant, he cannot shy away from his liability under provisions of the sections invoked against him, particularly on account of the fact that his house/building became the hub/centre point for rioters and rabble-rousers to unleash the worst communal riots since Partition in Delhi. The spread of riots on such a big scale in such a short time is not possible without a premeditated conspiracy.”
“At this stage, I am reminded of a famous English saying which says that ‘when you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire’. So, when the applicant is at the receiving end now, he cannot pass the buck by simply taking a plea that since he did not participate physically in the riots, he has no role to play in the riots. It is prima facie apparent that the applicant abused his muscle power and political clout to foment communal violence in the area,” the order read.
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