by Anand Mohan J

53 people lost their lives in the riots.

A Delhi court has pulled up Delhi Police for arresting the complainant in a case of arson and vandalism at a mosque, which was targeted during the northeast Delhi riots.

The observations were made by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, who called the arrest absurd and directed DCP (North­east) to file a status report on the investigation carried out so far. The judge also summoned SHO (Karawal Nagar) on March 25 with the case diaries.

On February 1, a Delhi court had ordered police to register an FIR into the attack on Madina Masjid in Northeast Delhi by armed rioters and to carry out a complete investigation.

Police challenged the order before a Sessions Court. ASJ Yadav, in his order, wrote, “It is really strange that the complaint with regard to burning of house of respondent No. 1 was clubbed with the complaint of one Naresh Chand… and later on the respondent No.1 was arrested in the same matter, meaning thereby that he is not only complainant in the matter, but also an accused, which is an apparent absurdity.”

On February 25 last year, rioters broke into the mosque in Shiv Vihar after a power cut in the area and set two LPG cylinders on fire inside, causing an explosion. A saffron flag was later planted atop the mosque by a local, who has been named in the complaint along with two others.

Haji Hasim Ali had earlier filed a complaint regarding arson and loot at his home in Shiv Vihar.

Police clubbed his complaint with another man’s, who reported arson at his shop, in which no accused was named. Police registered an FIR and arrested Ali on the basis of CCTV footage, in which the police claimed he was “clearly seen in the footage instigating the mob”. He was later granted bail by a court. Police also clubbed the complaint regarding the mosque, of which Ali is the caretaker, with these FIRs.

Ali’s advocate, M R Shamshad, then filed an application in court for police to register a separate FIR into mosque attack, since clubbing it with another would make it “irrelevant”. The court had said “it would be appropriate that an FIR is registered in this matter (the mosque attack) as well…”

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