This Article is From Apr 20, 2022

5 Accused In Delhi Violence Charged Under Stringent National Security Act

The tough anti-terror law that empowers the government to detain a person for months without formal charges

Police say the clashes erupted during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on Saturday evening

New Delhi:

Five of those accused in the clashes at Delhi's Jahangirpuri on Saturday have been charged under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), which allows detention up to a year without any charge.

Ansar, the main accused, is among those who face charges under the NSA. The others are Salim, Imam Sheikh or Sonu, Dilshad and Ahir.

On Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had dialled Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana and had called for strict action against those responsible for the violence in northwest Delhi two days ago in which many, including policemen, were injured.

Twenty-four people, including three juveniles, have been arrested till now. Of them, five have been charged under the tough anti-terror law that empowers the government to detain people for months if the authorities are satisfied that they are a threat to national security or to prevent them from disrupting public order.

"The Home Minister was very categorical and asked Delhi Police not to make any mistake while probing the matter," said a senior official from the Home Ministry, in an apparent reference to the February 2020 Delhi riots, during the anti-citizenship law protests. The Delhi Police had been heavily criticised over alleged gaps in its investigation.

The Saturday clashes erupted during a Hanuman Jayanti procession that was taken out without permission.

As the procession, with people holding up saffron flags, passed by a mosque, the loud volume of religious chants clashed with the azaan or Muslim call to prayers. This triggered an argument between the two groups - members of the procession and those praying in the mosque.

The police registered a case under Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, which is bailable.

Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said a search is on for all the accused and action would be taken against any person found guilty "irrespective of their class, creed, community and religion".

Three home-grown pistols and five swords were seized from those arrested so far. "Weapons have been recovered from both groups - the ones who were carrying out procession and the ones who were opposing it too," said a senior police officer.

Senior police officer Depender Pathak said eight of those arrested are Hindus and the rest are Muslims.