Like Mahabharata, Delhi riots story of conspiracy: Cops

Mahabharata was story of conspiracy, so also north east Delhi riots, police tells court

The two major epics of ancient India, Mahabharata and Ramayana, came in for reference by both, the prosecution and accused

Security personnel look at a house set abalze by miscreants, in Bhagirathi Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Delhi police told a court here on Thursday that just like the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata was a story of conspiracy, the northeast Delhi riots was also an alleged conspiracy whose 'Dhritarashtra', mythological character of the epic, was yet to be identified.

The accused, who was seeking bail tried to match the police by saying this case cannot be like a Ramayana "where we are going to wait 14 years to see if we can finally come out."

The two major epics of ancient India, Mahabharata and Ramayana, came in for reference by both, the prosecution and accused, to argue their cases, while drawing comparison between the books, the mythological characters and the alleged conspiracy of the riots.

They came in for mention during the bail application of JNU student and a Pinjra Tod member, Natasha Narwal who was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for allegedly being part of a premeditated conspiracy in the riots.

Her counsel claimed over the past eight odd hearing a 'Chakravyuh' has been prepared by the prosecution and the accused would attempt to be another mythological character 'Abhimanyu' of Mahabharata and try to break out of it.

Referring to the accused's contention that the charge sheet was the second biggest document after the 'Mahabharata', Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, said the WhatsApp group Delhi Protest Support Group (DPSG) was like the mythological character of 'Sanjaya', who was narrating everything to 'Dhritarashtra'.

Prasad told Additional Sessions, Judge Amitabh Rawat, that DPSG allegedly controlled and monitored all the protest sites and the intent was not a protest but a disruptive 'Chakka Jaam', with an end result of violence.

“The accused's counsel said the charge sheet was the second biggest document after the 'Mahabharata'. He had argued the Mahabharata was 22,000 pages and the charge sheet was 17,000 pages. I would like to point it out that 'Mahabharata' was a story of a conspiracy and incidentally this case is also that of a conspiracy. In 'Mahabharata', 'Sanjaya' was the one who was able to see everything.

"The 'Sanjaya' of this conspiracy was DPSG. 'Sanjaya' was narrating everything to 'Dhritarashtra'. The 'Dhritarashtra' here is yet to be identified," the prosecutor submitted.

Advocate Adit Pujari, appearing for Narwal, said “Over the past eight odd hearings a 'Chakravyuh' has been prepared by the prosecution. It is going to be our attempt to be another mythological character 'Abhimanyu' and break out of it. Let's be very clear the reason that this is being done is that the charge sheet does not really contain a prima facie case.

“This is not going to be a Ramayana where we are going to wait 14 years to see if we can finally come out. It is happening now and here, we are arguing this now,” Pujari claimed.

As his computer system crashed in the middle of the hearing, Pujari again commented on the bulkiness of the charge sheet and said that the charge sheet was so heavy that it often slowed down the computer.

Prasad, whose system also crashed during the hearing, said "the accused further argued that protest is not crime. I agree but we have seen that clearly through and through the intent was not a protest, a disruptive chakra jam and with clear indication that the end result was violence.

In the submission made through video conferencing, the prosecutor said Narwals' contention that the statements of the witnesses were extorted from them by putting pressure, was a “figment of imagination”.

“The accused's counsel had argued that the witnesses despite being aware did not report it at that time. Let me say, this is a case where the witnesses have come forward and said they did not trust the local police at that time. We would not discuss the delay and that is a matter of trial.

"The statements recorded under section 164 (recording of statement before the magistrate) Code of Criminal procedure are corroborated with contemporaneous chat records. In any case, the credibility of the witnesses cannot be tested at this stage,” he said.

He further said 'Chakka Jaam' started on February 22 and chats, which were part of the charge sheet, showed that till February 23, nothing happened on the site where the protestors supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act were present.

“Narwal was brought on to the DPSG group after she was able to set up the protest site at Seelampur. She was part of the DPSG group which was controlling and monitoring all protest sites. She attended the alleged conspiratorial meeting of February 16 and February 17. The chats have clearly revealed that there was a proposal to incite violence.

"She was privy to the principal conspirators. She was coordinating with the Jamia Coordination Committee. Detailed elaborations not required on merits at this point. The prima facie case stands established,” the public prosecutor alleged.

Pujari alleged that 53 people died in the riots but the charge sheet revolved around the deaths of only three persons- Head Constable Ratan Lal, Rahul Solanki and Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma.