In harrowing details that have emerged about the Northeast Delhi riots, the Delhi Police told a Delhi court that a 22-year-old man who fell unconscious after being assaulted over his Muslim identity was set on fire by rioters to check if he had "actually died".
When Shahbaz, the victim, began to move, the rioters "put wood pieces on him, poured some petrol and burnt him alive", police told the court.
Police submitted these details in the court during the bail hearing of Rahul Sharma, 24, an accused in the murder. A piece of skull and some pelvic bones were recovered by police, which were claimed by Shahbaz's family. The police informed the court that only a DNA test can establish his identity.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav dismissed Rahul's bail on Wednesday, August 5. So far, five people have been arrested in connection with the case.
Police claimed that Shahbaz was assaulted by the mob after they identified that he was a Muslim.
"He tried to escape by jumping over the wall and running into the water near the bushes towards PTS Wazirabad. He (Sharma) and other rioters chased Shahbaz… The rioters caught him again and beat him mercilessly. The riotous mob dragged Shahbaz to the main Pusta Road. Aman and Mohit robbed Shahbaz's wristwatch. Soon he fell unconscious. Someone among the rioters proposed that it must be checked if Shahbaz had really died or was just trying to feign unconsciousness. Some rioters brought some dry bushes and put them on Shahbaz's face," The Indian Express quoted police as telling the court.
"Another rioter poured some petrol on the bushes and someone lit a fire with a matchstick. Shahbaz was still alive and started moving. The rioters then broke some rehris (carts) parked on the roadside, put the wood pieces on Shahbaz, poured some more petrol and burnt Shahbaz alive," they added.
Police claimed that they had to rely on manual identification and dump data analysis to investigate the case. The investigation found that Aman and Mohit, the co-accused, had revealed they "had killed and burnt the body of one Shahbaz, who was doing the job of a welder in their area".
According to the police, Aman had confessed that on February 25, "he in conspiracy with his friend Mohit had caused harm to the life and property of persons belonging to a particular community to teach them a lesson… On that day,…he along with his friend Mohit and other rioters assaulted, robbed and killed Shahbaz and thereafter burnt him alive…"
Police allegations against Rahul were denied by his legal team.