Glaring gaps in Delhi Police investigation into gun attack on riot victim Mohd Nasir

25 July 2020
Mohammad Nasir Khan, a 33 year old, is a junior assistant at the Delhi Naval Unit of the National Cadet Corps. On 24 February, Nasir, a resident of North Ghonda, in Delhi, lost his left eye to a gunshot when he was attacked during the violence that erupted in the north-east district. He had to undergo reconstructive surgery, and five months after the incident he has still not fully recovered.
SHAHID TANTRAY FOR THE CARAVAN
Mohammad Nasir Khan, a 33 year old, is a junior assistant at the Delhi Naval Unit of the National Cadet Corps. On 24 February, Nasir, a resident of North Ghonda, in Delhi, lost his left eye to a gunshot when he was attacked during the violence that erupted in the north-east district. He had to undergo reconstructive surgery, and five months after the incident he has still not fully recovered.
SHAHID TANTRAY FOR THE CARAVAN

On 6 July, Mohammad Nasir Khan, a resident of Gali Number 8, in northeast Delhi’s North Ghonda neighbourhood, received a call from the Bhajanpura police station. The official on the line asked Nasir to come to the station the next day. Nasir had suffered a serious gunshot wound to the eye during the carnage that ripped through Delhi’s North East district in the last week of February. During the course of multiple interviews over seven weeks, Nasir told us that it was one of his neighbours, Naresh Tyagi, who shot him during the violence, and that since 12 March, he had been trying to file a complaint against Naresh at the Bhajanpura station. He repeatedly said that not only were the police refusing to register an FIR against his complaint, he was also being threatened regularly by Naresh, his family and associates, not to file the complaint.

On 7 July, Nasir said, he met an assistant sub-inspector Rajeev Sharma, who took down his complaint, asked him a series of questions and heard out Nasir’s allegations against Naresh. The next evening, a constable from the Bhajanpura station, Rohit Kumar, came to Nasir’s house. When Nasir asked him the reason for his visit, Rohit said he had come to hand over a copy of an FIR—number 64 of 2020—related to Nasir’s complaint, and “to take his statement.” Nasir said that Rohit noted Nasir’s statement, and also told him that a chargesheet had already been filed against the FIR. Rohit did not explain how the police had filed a chargesheet without recording the statement of the victim. Nasir had tried to file a complaint with the Delhi Police on at least five different occasions between 12 March and 7 July, including the visit with Sharma. Initially relieved that the police was finally acting on his complaint, Nasir told us that he was stunned when he saw the FIR.

The FIR, a copy of which is with The Caravan, had been filed around 11 pm on 25 February, at the Bhajanpura station. The complainant is a police official, Ashok Kumar, an ASI. The FIR refers to a clash between two groups, who resorted to stone pelting and gunfire. It mentions seven people, including Nasir, who were reportedly injured during the violence, along with their medico legal certificate numbers. Despite a series of questionnaires sent to multiple police officials, the Delhi Police did not provide a straightforward response about why it had neglected to inform Nasir about the FIR for over four months and why no official took his statement during that period despite repeated attempts to lodge a complaint. On 8 July, the Delhi Police wrote to us regarding the FIR, “During investigation, five accused persons have been arrested.” But the police did not tell us how these arrests were made without the victim being questioned till 7 July.

When Nasir asked Rohit the same question, he said that the investigating officer, Rahul Kumar, had spoken to Nasir at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital—Nasir had been admitted to the GTB hospital on the night of 24 February in an unconscious state. Nasir and his family strongly refuted this claim and told us that no police official approached them even once during Nasir’s entire stay in the hospital. Nasir was discharged from GTB on 11 March. Rohit then asked Nasir to speak to the investigating officer, who repeated this claim. Nasir told us that he categorically told Rahul that he was lying and no one in his family had any recollection of a police personnel taking down their complaint while at GTB. “I spoke to him”—Rahul—“for the first time on 8 July,” Nasir said. “Would I be running around to get my complaint registered for four months if the police had spoken to me in the hospital? How could they speak to me? I was unconscious for the first three days and they say they lodged the FIR on 25th.” Rahul did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him.

Curiously, the FIR states that the complaint was filed after permission was taken from the injured at GTB, but none of the injured came forward to register their statement, so the police acted on their own to file the FIR. Apart from this, there are several other discrepancies in the FIR. The attack on Nasir was life-threatening, but the FIR does not include the offence of attempt to murder. In addition, the sequence of events as narrated by Nasir differs wildly compared to the FIR. The police claimed that they took the injured to the hospital while Nasir’s family has proof that was not the case. Even the location of the attack on Nasir is inaccurate and the police’s version seems to suggest that Nasir was part of the rampaging mobs while eyewitnesses and other evidence contradict this. 

Ahan Penkar is a fact-checking fellow at The Caravan.

Shahid Tantray is an assistant photo editor at The Caravan.

Keywords: Delhi Violence Delhi Police communal violence
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