‘I am the victim’: AAP councillor Tahir Hussain tells court during hearing on Delhi riots case

By Anand Mohan J / Indian Express

Suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain while arguing for discharge in a northeast Delhi riots case argued that the court was being deceived by the prosecution and in fact, he was a victim of the riots.

Advocate Rizwan, who appeared for Tahir, made the submissions before Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt, who recently began hearing the case following the transfer of his predecessor to a CBI court.

The case was registered on a complaint filed by one Ajay Kumar Jha who claimed that he sustained injuries after a riotous mob, which was pelting stones, throwing petrol bombs and firing gunshots from the terrace of Hussain’s house, fired upon him on February 25, 2020.

The prosecutor, who appeared on behalf of the state, told the court that Tahir was “not resisting but assisting the rioters”.

Rizwan told the court, “Rioters have come to my home and I was not the one giving them instructions to hurl petrol bombs…the riots were raging in my area. If you see the videos, I am the one who was trying to douse the fire in the parking lot near my home and not the one setting it on fire.”

Rizwan told the court that the videos featuring Tahir, which was relied upon by the prosecution, was shot by a local who was not made a witness in this case.

The prosecutor told the court that the person who shot the video changed his address and could not be traced.

“This person (who shot the video) is speaking about arson in the area and that he (Tahir) was the man behind it. This is the opinion of the neighbourhood,” the prosecutor submitted.

“Is the person who is commenting in the video saying the gospel truth? This person was not even made a witness by the police,” Rizwan told the court.

Rizwan played several videos in the court which showed Tahir speaking to the area ACP, while a huge police contingent was present near his house. He submitted that Tahir was apprising the police about the riots which had broken out in the area.

“No one is willing to take this video on record. In fact, the witness, Pradeep, whose parking lot was burnt, indulged in stone pelting,” Rizwan told the court.

The prosecutor told the court that these videos were “scheduled shoots”. Rizwan rebutted, “I am the victim here. The witness (Pradeep) was himself pelting stones. He is an unbelievable witness.”

Rizwan also played a video which showed some of Tahir’s employees trying to hold the entrance door to his home and that the rioters tried to break in to argue that his home was targeted and he was later on rescued by the police.

The prosecutor argued, “Then why were the CCTV cameras not working? They did not make videos (of) the riot…these are staged videos.”

Rizwan argued that the prosecutor was trying to deceive the court. He submitted that the police do not have any video of Tahir on February 25, when the police made recoveries in the case. He argued that on February 24, he was rescued by the police and the house’s possession was under the police following his rescue.

The court posed a question to Rizwan asking why he was calling it a rescue if the rioters had left the area before the police arrived.

Rizwan told the court, “I was with my wife and kids. Riots were raging around the area. You call this a rescue in plain language.”

Rizwan went on to argue that Tahir has never in his life been in contact with former JNU student Umar Khalid and that the police kept changing the incident date when the conspiracy for the riot began.

“This conspiracy starts from Jamia and ends at Chand Bagh. In between, the police have omitted many important events like speeches from some politicians,” Rizwan told the court.

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