Police last month had told the court that it has identified and questioned a head constable in the case (File)

By Sofi Ahsan / The Indian Express

The Delhi High Court Tuesday rapped the Delhi Police for failing to probe the death of 23-year-old Faizan, who was seen in a video lying injured on the ground as security personnel forced him to sing Vande Mataram and the national anthem during the 2020 riots. Police last month had told the court that it has identified and questioned a head constable in the case.

“This 66-paragraph status report is neither here nor there. It says nothing,” said Justice Mukta Gupta after perusing the status report filed by police. The report was in a sealed cover and shown only to the court.

On January 11, the court had questioned the delay in probing the case and sought a detailed status report on the investigation. Faizan died in 2020 soon after his release from a police station where he was taken after he had been allegedly assaulted by policemen on 66 Foota Road and, along with four others, was forced by them to sing the national anthem – as seen in a viral video. He was released late evening on February 25, 2020, from the police station and died at a hospital on February 26.

Questioning the police on why the report cannot be shared with the petitioner, the victim’s mother, through her counsel, the court said there was “hardly anything” in it. It listed the case for further hearing on March 15 and asked the police to provide the status report to advocate Vrinda Grover for her perusal in court itself. The petition filed by Faizan’s mother Kismatun prays for a court-monitored SIT probe into her son’s death

The court during the hearing on Tuesday also asked whether the statements of survivors, who are seen in the same video, have been recorded and whether they have identified any police personnel. The court also asked if any test identification parade has taken place in the case.

“These were five children who were assaulted. One has died. Four are still surviving. Have you got it identified from them? In any case, police will start the investigation from an eyewitness. It is an offence of murder, right? In this case, you will not take the help of the eyewitness but you will investigate all over the world,” said Justice Gupta.

When police submitted that the other victims had said that they cannot identify any policemen, the court asked, “Their statements have been recorded before the magistrate? Why don’t you get their statements recorded before the magistrates so that there is some authenticity?”

Grover earlier argued that no investigation had taken place with regard to Jyoti Nagar police station, where Faizan allegedly remained detained on February 24, hours before his death at a hospital, and submitted that the police have even refused to seal documents like the duty roster. Contending that evasive replies are being filed before the court, she said, “they put us all on a wild goose chase”.

Last year, police in a written response had told the court that they are still trying to ascertain the identity of personnel seen in the viral video and only one policeman has been “pinpointed on probable basis”. It also claimed that Faizan and others were later kept at the Jyoti Nagar police station as per their own wish.

In the petition before court, it has been alleged that Faizan was “targeted, brutally assaulted” and “injured by the policemen” at Kardampuri and then subsequently “illegally detained” in an injured condition at the police station where he was denied timely critical medical care, resulting in his death later at a hospital. Grover on Tuesday termed it a case of hate crime.

This article first appeared on indianexpress.com