No sooner did the news of the Crime Branch of Delhi Police arresting a man in connection with the violence that took place in the Chand Bagh area during the Delhi riots in February this year surfaced, the suspect Khalid Saifi was seen sharing photo frames with several big names from the Delhi government and media industry. Social media is abuzz with images of Saifi with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy, Manish Sisodia, student activist-turned-CPI politician Kanhaiya Kumar, India Today‘s Rajdeep Sardesai, NDTV‘s Ravish Kumar, ABP News‘s Abhigyan Prakash and a host of other ‘luminaries’ from the media.
Saifi is an accused according to another charge sheet Delhi Police had filed in connection with the Delhi riots, police said. He is said to have attended the 8 January meeting at Shaheen Bagh, where Muslims of the locality and those from Muslim-dominated institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia supported by communists and other opposition parties staged a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for months on end, holding vehicular traffic to NOIDA from Delhi to ransom.
In February, violence had broken out in north-eastern Delhi between the groups supporting and opposing the CAA. The riots claimed at least 53 lives while injuring hundreds of others.
Earlier, a police charge sheet had indicated that Saifi and AAP’s suspended councillor Tahir Hussain had met at Shaheen Bagh on 8 January before the riots in Chand Bagh and Jaffrabad.
The charge sheet says that Saifi facilitated a meeting between Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain and hatched the plot to organise protests in Delhi during US President Donald Trump’s visit.
Saifi’s arrest in connection with the Chand Bagh riot is crucial. Police will question him for more details on the violence.
Saifi is named as an accused in another charge sheet that the police filed in connection with the Delhi riots. Communal clashes had broken out in north-eastern Delhi on 24 February after violence between CAA supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, killing 53 people dead and injuring 200.
Saifi is the founder of United Against Hate, an organisation which led the anti-CAA protests in the country. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had made a special mention of this organisation during the parliamentary debate on Delhi’s riots. Shah told the parliament, “United Against Hate — the name sounds so pious but look what they advocated. They said, ‘(Donald) Trump is about to come, we should block the streets’.”
Delhi Police had arrested Saifi from the anti-CAA protest site at Khureji Khas on 26 February. Now the crime branch has taken him into custody as part of its probe into the Delhi anti-Hindu riot case.
Over the course of the investigation, the role of radical Islamist organization PFI and others came to the fore. However, no politician other than a puny like Tahir Hussain has been questioned. No journalist has been interrogated for misleading the people about the amended law to add fuel to the fire either.
The home minister had promised on the floor of Sansad that a thorough investigation into the matter would be carried out and the guilty would be punished. Sources said how some Muslim women rained down acid from the terrace and how slingshots were used to hurl petrol bombs. Eyewitnesses said further that the rioters were well-prepared and organised. They explained how women and children were armed to attack Hindus.