Delhi Riots: HT saw the Document but is not Disclosing the Name of Witnesses to Protect its Identity
A document of two pages containing the names and addresses of at least 15 protected witnesses who gave evidence against those arrested for alleged conspiracy in the February Delhi riots cases was unknowingly in a police charge sheet filed in a city court last month Is included.
The document is seen by HT but is not disclosing the names of witnesses to protect its identity. The document contains the names and addresses of protected witnesses otherwise referenced only by their other names, such as Alpha, Beta, Hector, Delta, Echo, Mike, and others. Kushwaha is leading the investigation behind the alleged conspiracy as Pramod Kushwaha, Special Cell Deputy Commissioner of Police, who prepared and presented the charge sheet, did not respond to repeated calls and text messages from HT.
The Delhi Police issued a statement on Wednesday evening that a court-related document relating to the identity of the witnesses was “inadvertently involved” and they are “taking steps for the safety and security of the witnesses”. In addition to this two-page document, the 17,000-page charge sheet refers to these protected witnesses with pseudonyms in their statements before police and court. Police have claimed that these protected witnesses were insiders/eyewitnesses who saw some people like Pinjar Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devanagana Kalita, and former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain gathering rioters.
Copies were also run with journalists and there was widespread content on social media. Experts say that disclosing the identity of such protected witnesses would not only harm the outcome of the cases but would also threaten their lives. The Delhi
As per the Police aforementioned that, “During the investigation, it was important to not disclose the identity of the witness in the public. However, a related court document that includes the identification of some witnesses has been inadvertently included in copies of the charge sheets provided to the accused persons as part of their compliance with judicial orders.
The 2020 Delhi riots killed at least 53 people and injured 400 others. The clash began when groups of people – one supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and another opposing it – clashed near the Jafrabad metro station on the evening of 23 February. It was engulfed in large-scale Hindu-Muslim clashes in parts of the north. East Delhi from 23 February to 27 February. Delhi Police has arrested at least 21 people on charges of conspiring for the riots.
Those arrested include JNU alumnus leader Umar Khalid, student activists Sharjeel Imam, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Safura Zagar as prominent faces of anti-CAA protests. He has denied any role in instigating the riots.