Weren't even near India Gate, say those accused of rioting

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New Delhi:  The eight people who have been accused of inciting the crowds and causing riots in Delhi over the weekend say the cops have got it all wrong.

They have been charged by the police for the violence that barreled through India Gate on Sunday as thousands of people demonstrated against the gang-rape of a young student on a moving bus in Delhi. A constable who was trying to control the crowds died yesterday in hospital. The charges against the eight who were arrested on Monday before being granted bail include attempt to murder.

Amit Joshi, who is among the eight accused of the riots, says he was nowhere near India Gate when the clashes took place. "I was shopping at a mall. I have the receipts to prove it," he told NDTV outside court. Mr Joshi said he then took the metro and that security cameras will establish his coordinates.

A Delhi court hearing the case has ordered that CCTV footage from metro stations on Sunday be saved.

The police says that the eight men accused of Sunday's violence were identified by policemen and that CCTV footage and video from news channels will help establish their complicity.

But a catalogue of aspersions have taken shape over the police's actions during and after the protests. For two consecutive days, demonstrators, many of them students, were made to confront batons, tear-gas and water-cannons as they ignored orders to stay away from India Gate and the high-security area near Rashtrapati Bhavan. Then, when Constable Tomar died, the police appeared to blame protesters, even as doctors say they need a post-mortem report to determine if he had been pushed and hit by demonstrators, as alleged by Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

Doctors who attended to Mr Tomar say he was brought to hospital after a heart attack - though they don't rule out that this could have been caused by the riots or internal injuries. The controversy has led to Ministry of Home Affairs asking for a thorough report on his death. The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police has been assigned to investigate the case.


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