Arrested on the charges of opening fire at the Delhi Police officials and inciting riots in the national capital, accused Shahrukh Pathan, whose image of brandishing a gun at the Delhi police personnel had symbolised the anti-Hindu riots in Delhi, had buckled under pressure, presumably on the realisation that he may face jail time for his criminal activities. Admitting to his crimes, Pathan, in his statement to the police, said that he is willing to cooperate with the law enforcement officials and identify the other accused from the protest footage and help in their arrest.
In his disclosure statement, Pathan claimed that he was brainwashed by the protests after watching a YouTube video on anti-CAA protests at Maujpur Chowk and thus decided to join the demonstrations. He joined the protests, pelted stones and fired at the police, his statement said.
“On February 22, 2020, I saw on YouTube that a protest against CAA had started at Maujpur Chowk and got excited. Two days later at around 11 am, I went to Maujpur Chowk, where two groups, pro-CAA and anti-CAA, started pelting stones at each other. I also started pelting stones, and I also had a pistol with me, which I pointed at police officers and fired. I can identify the other accused from the protest footage and help in their arrest. I made a mistake, please forgive me,” the statement read.
Shahrukh has been charged in two cases. He has been booked under rioting and under relevant sections for allegedly pointing a gun at head constable Deepak Dahiya during the riots on February 24. His name is also included in a charge sheet in connection with the Maujpur incident on February 24, where violence erupted between pro-CAA and anti-CAA groups and later spread to other parts of Northeast Delhi. Pathan was arrested from Uttar Pradesh in March and is currently held in judicial custody.
As per the present case, two policemen—Raman and Deepak and a passerby Rohit Shukla sustained injuries because of the violence that broke out at Maujpur Chowk on February 24. According to the charge sheet, constable Raman could not identify the rioters who injured him. Shukla identified Aatir, Gulfam and Osama through pictures, who were later arrested and sent to judicial custody. Another witness had identified Sajjad through CCTV footage but he has since then been untraceable, the charge sheet said.
The statement from Shahrukh comes on the heels of the Delhi High Court’s refusal to grant a reprieve to the accused. Last week, the Delhi High Court denied granting relief to Shahrukh Pathan—and observed that while Pathan intended to become a hero but he will now have to face the consequences of taking up arms against the Delhi police. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said he was not disposed to grant relief to Shahrukh Pathan, after which his counsel withdrew the plea.
The court dismissed the plea as withdrawn. The advocate representing Shahrukh had sought bail for his client on the grounds that he had to take care of his ailing 76-year-old father who is not well and has no one to look after him. Justice Kait then said, “While committing an offence, you forget everyone. Now you are thinking about your aged and ailing parents.