‘Desi kattas in right pockets’: Delhi House panel flags five copycat FIRs

The FIRs were filed at the Dayalpur police station under the Arms Act, 1959, on February 27, when the youths were allegedly spotted, between 3 pm and 9.25 pm, in different areas in Northeast Delhi, where the riots broke out on February 24-26.

The Delhi home department has decided to flag five identical FIRs — filed in separate cases against five youths, identified as Faiz Ahmed (30), Athar (23), Sohib (22), Shahrukh (22) and Faizan (28), in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots — in a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner, The Indian Express has learnt.

Besides the names of the constables and the youths, and the place and time of arrest, the FIRs are identical in content: all five seemed to be “suspects”; on spotting policemen, they “turned around” and started “walking away quickly”; and on being frisked, they were found to be carrying loaded “desi kattas” (locally made pistol) “in the right pocket” of their trousers.

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The FIRs were filed at the Dayalpur police station under the Arms Act, 1959, on February 27, when the youths were allegedly spotted, between 3 pm and 9.25 pm, in different areas in Northeast Delhi, where the riots broke out on February 24-26.

The decision to flag the FIRs was taken on Wednesday after the Delhi Assembly’s committee on welfare of minorities, which is hearing matters related to the riots, brought it to the notice of Principal Secretary (Vigilance) Rajeev Verma, who, officials said, attended the meeting instead of Principal Secretary (Home) B S Bhalla.

The committee also directed Verma to ask the Police Commissioner about the status of the probe into the death of 24-year-old Faizan who, along with two other men, was allegedly made to sing the national anthem and the national song by a group of policemen during the riots. As reported by The Indian Express, one policeman has been questioned in connection with the death so far.

“I will write to the Police Commissioner raising the issues flagged here, but we cannot interfere in the police probe. The aggrieved have other judicial remedies at their disposal,” Verma told the meeting, adding that the police department has written to the state government stating that all the 754 FIRs related to the riots have been classified as sensitive.

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, chairman of the committee, directed Verma to ask the police to produce the notification through which the FIRs have been classified as sensitive. “The Supreme Court has issued clear directions in the past that FIRs cannot be concealed,” he said.

The five FIRs – 0066, 0067, 0068, 0069 and 0070 – lodged at Dayalpur police station on February 27 have largely identical content:

* FIR 0066 says constable Piyush spotted a suspect “hiding behind a car at Nala Road Brijpuri at 3 pm. On noticing the police party, the suspect turned around and started walking away quickly. When we stopped him, he revealed his name and address and on frisking him we found a loaded desi katta in the right pocket of his pant”.

* FIR 0067 says constable Subhash found a suspect “hiding behind a closed paan shop at Chand Bagh at 5.45 pm”. The rest — on the accused trying to walk away and police finding a loaded desi katta — matches verbatim with the other four FIRs.

* FIR 0068 says constable Deepak found a suspect “hiding in a lane near Alsra Hotel Main Road Babu Nagar around 6.15 pm”. The rest is the same.

* FIR 0069 says constable Ashok of Dayalpur station spotted a “suspect standing at Sanjay Chowk Mustafabad at 8.55 pm”. The rest is the same.

* FIR 0070 says constable Chaman of Dayalpur police station spotted a “suspect hiding near Tukmirpur Government School, Nehru Vihar, around 9.25 pm on February 27. After noticing the police party, the suspected person turned around and started walking away quickly. On suspicion, we stopped him and he told his name and address. On frisking him, we found a loaded desi katta in the right pocket of his pant, which he said was being carried by him to spread terror among the people by firing bullets”.

* All five FIRs say the accused were found with one desi katta and one live round each.

Asked about the identical content, a senior police officer from the Eastern Range said: “During the riots, there were many people who were carrying illegal weapons. One of our policemen, Rattan Lal, died because of firing and stone-pelting. We sent teams to all areas to recover weapons in order to prevent misuse of illegal firearms and consequent casualties. The constables would go to a specific spot and catch criminals who were seen with illegal arms. The language and content of the FIRs are the same because, in all such incidents, constables were sent to the spots to nab suspects. To put all this in the records, FIRs were registered against the accused. Our district team has recovered 150 pistols till date. Investigation is being conducted on merit, and a final report will be submitted to the court in due course. Police investigation is subject to judicial scrutiny.”

Meanwhile, Verma, on the directions of the committee, also agreed to write to the police seeking details on how many riots cases are linked to people who participated in the anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests. MLA Khan, who represents Okhla, said there are people from his constituency who have been linked with the riots for being spotted pasting posters against the amended citizenship Act.

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