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Northeast Delhi riots: Chargesheets filed in 38 of 53 murder cases

Compensation from the state has been received in 44 cases, while at least 12 families have moved residence following the riots, The Indian Express found after tracking down and speaking to the families of 51 riot victims.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 25, 2021 7:19:15 am
Northeast Delhi riotsAt Northeast Delhi’s Shiv Vihar, one of the worst affected localities, Wednesday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Of the 53 murder cases registered following the riots in Northeast Delhi in February 2020, the Delhi Police has filed chargesheets in 38, and arguments on charges in 17 have begun in court.

Compensation from the state has been received in 44 cases, while at least 12 families have moved residence following the riots, The Indian Express found after tracking down and speaking to the families of 51 riot victims.

Communal violence had singed Northeast Delhi between February 24 and 26 in 2020, leaving over 500 injured and property worth crores damaged. Such was the destruction that several families had to move to temporary camps for months following the violence.

“A total of 755 cases were registered, of which 400 have been solved. So far 1,753 people have been arrested — 933 Muslims and 820 Hindus,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express.

Sixty-two cases, including the 53 murders, are being handled by three special investigation teams of the Crime Branch. An officer said 46 of these cases have been solved. “The three SITs have arrested 390 people — 178 Hindus and 212 Muslims. The Special Cell, probing the larger conspiracy case, has arrested 21 people — 19 Muslims and two Hindus,” the officer said.

Special CP Crime Branch Praveer Ranjan said: “Chargesheets have been filed in 38 murder cases and arguments on charge have commenced in 17.”

The Indian Express also found that in most cases, families had lost their primary earner, often leaving behind young children. While the compensation — Rs 10 lakh for the death of an adult and Rs 5 lakh for the death of a minor — has been provided to 44 families, most said it was barely enough to cover the cost of rebuilding their homes and securing the future of their children. In most cases, the wives of riot victims have still not managed to find a job, and were entirely dependent on their in-laws or relatives for day-to-day expenses.

According to the Delhi government, total compensation of Rs 26.09 crore has been disbursed so far, including for injuries, damage to residential and commercial properties and schools, and damage to animals or vehicles. The highest amount — Rs 11.28 crore — has been disbursed for damage to commercial property in over 1,100 claims.

While the families of most riot victims remain in the same home as they were last year, 12 have either moved into new houses in Delhi-NCR or have left the city. Many of those who stayed back said they don’t have the financial resources to move.

Police said that out of the 400 cases solved, chargesheets and supplementary chargesheets have been filed in 342.

“Out of 1,753 people arrested, 1,204 are in judicial custody and 544 have been released on bail. 1,553 accused have been chargesheeted and 200 are yet to be chargesheeted. Out of 342 chargesheeted cases, 250 have been taken cognizance of by trial courts and in some cases, arguments on charge have begun,” an officer said.

Police said they heavily relied on “credible, material, scientific evidence and CCTV footage” to solve the cases. “Most of the accused who have been arrested on the charge of murder were not directly involved in murder cases but were part of the mob where the murder took place,” the officer said.

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