During the riots, the former AAP councillor was an ‘active conspirator’ and not a ‘mere conspirator,’ the bench also observed.

Describing a riotous incident during the February 2020 northeast Delhi communal violence as a ‘well-hatched conspiracy,’ a Delhi court on Friday ordered farming of arson, rioting and other charges against six accused, including former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain, in connection with the incident.

“It prima facie appears that the riotous incident in question was committed in pursuance to a well-hatched conspiracy, and after elaborate preparations, as also in the execution of the well-thought plan,” observed Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Virender Bhat, as he ordered framing of charges against Hussain, Anas, Firoz, Javed, Gulfam and Sohaib Alam.

The bench ordered framing of charges against the accused for various offences punishable under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), such as 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of 50 or more), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy the property) and 395 (dacoity).

The former AAP councillor will face trial under a further two sections, the bench said, adding that these are 109 (punishment of abetment) and 114 (abettor present when the offence is committed).

ASJ Bhat further said, “It was not a spontaneous act; also, it was clearly revealed that the accused agreed with each other to commit vandalisation and arson of properties belonging to the Hindu community from the roof of Tahir Hussain’s house.”

Citing testimony from the one of the witnesses, the bench described Hussain as ‘not only a mere conspirator but also an active rioter.’

The framing of charges was ordered in connection with an FIR registered on the basis of a complaint by a businessman, Karan, who alleged his godown was vandalised and set on fire in Chand Bagh’s Khazuri Khas area.

Several areas in northeast Delhi witnessed communal clashes from February 23 to 29, 2020, as a faceoff between anti and pro-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters took a deadly turn. The riots claimed at least 53 lives.

This article first appeared on hindustantimes.com