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Delhi Riots: Court Slams Police for 'Lackadaisical Attitude' in Madina Masjid Investigation

'This court is quite pained to see the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the investigating agency in the matter.'
Police photograph burnt properties owned by Muslims in a riot affected area, New Delhi, March 2, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

New Delhi: A Delhi court has once again pulled up Delhi Police for what it said was its “lackadaisical attitude” in letting the court know that a separate FIR had been registered in connection to the vandalism of the Madina Masjid during the northeast Delhi riots of February 2020.

This is the third time that a Delhi court has taken a dim view of Delhi Police’s investigations into the case.

On March 26, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had expressed dissatisfaction with Delhi Police for not having maintained files in connection with the probe into the desecration of the Madina Masjid.

On April 7, the court slammed the “callous attitude of the police in investigation.”

LiveLaw has reported that allowing a revision petition filed by the Delhi Police, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav sent back the matter to the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, for it to consider the disclosure of a separate FIR.

The case involves one Hashim Ali, who was subsequently made an accused by police who tagged his complaint with another FIR alleging theft, destruction of property and arson, LiveLaw has reported.

“This prima facie reflects the callous attitude/negligence on the part of the investigating agency, as it was incumbent upon it to have placed complete material before the learned ACMM (North-East). This Court is quite pained to see the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the investigating agency in the matter,” the court said.

Also read: Delhi 2020 | The Real Conspiracy, Episode 1: What the Delhi Police Chose Not to See

The court criticised the fact that police were “not even aware” that FIR 55/2020 had already been registered at the Karawal Nagar police station by the time police (the respondent) had approached the ACMM Court with a revision petition.

“The investigating agency was duty bound to have apprised the learned ACMM (North-East) of the entire facts and place complete material before it, which admittedly has not been done,” judge Yadav said.

The Madina Masjid suffered significant damage in the riots of February 2020. Police had arrested Ali on the basis of a complaint filed by one Naresh Chand alleging damage to his house. After having been released on bail, Ali filed a separate complaint which was clubbed with Chand’s FIR.

The ACMM in an order on February 1, 2021, directed the Delhi Police to register a separate FIR on the complaint of Ali.

However, at the latest hearing, police told the court that a separate FIR had already been registered on the Madina Masjid vandalism, in redressal of Ali’s grievance.

The Delhi Police’s partisan approach to the investigation into the riots, which has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of several young scholars, many of them Muslim, has drawn criticism from several quarters.

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