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Charges framed against father, son for burning down mosque

Charges framed against father, son for burning down mosque
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New Delhi: A local court has now framed charges of rioting and arson against a father-son duo for allegedly torching the Fatima Masjid in Khajuri Khas during the north-east Delhi riots last February, dismissing their argument that a week's delay in reporting the case was enough to discharge them. In addition to this, the court also framed charges of vandalism, stone-pelting and destroying private and public property.

Mithhan Singh and his son Jony Kumar are accused of allegedly being part of a violent mob that raised slogans Jai Shree Ram and damaged the Fatima Masjid in Delhi's Khajuri Khas area on February 25, 2020, as per the complainant.

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat framed charges under requisite sections against the two accused and explained it to them in vernacular in the presence of their lawyers, to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The judge, in a November 20 order, also said that the delay in recording witnesses' statements was not intentional and was occasioned on account of the situation which prevailed in the area during and after the incident of rioting.

There was an atmosphere of terror and trauma which prevailed in the area for several days even after the riots. In these circumstances, the delay of about one week in reporting the incident to the police would appear justified and can not be considered fatal to the prosecution case at this stage, the court held in this case.

As per complainant Israfil, Mithhan Singh and his son Jony Kumar were allegedly part of the violent mob that raised slogans Jai Shree Ram on February 25, 2020, near his house and set it ablaze.

This prompted the complainant to climb the Fatima Masjid to save his life, he stated, adding that the mob then damaged the mosque and set it on fire. Mithhan Singh also exhorted his son to throw a small gas cylinder into the mosque, he alleged.

Following this, the father-son duo, along with the mob threw bottles containing inflammable material upon the houses belonging to a particular community, the complainant claimed.

The Special Public Prosecutor told the court that apart from Israfil, eyewitnesses Mohd Tayyub, Mehboob Alam, Shadab, and Mohd Akram had also seen the two accused in the mob damaging and setting ablaze their houses as well as Fatima Masjid.

On the other hand, counsel for the duo argued that they have been falsely implicated and that the witnesses were planted by the police. The judge disagreed with this at this stage.

The charges were framed under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), Section 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance)

of IPC.

And also under sections 451 (house trespass), 392 (robbery), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees). Two additional charges have been framed against Mithhan, which include sections 109 (Punishment of abetment) and 114 (abettor present when the offence is committed).

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