Delhi riots: Family await justice after court orders FIR in acid attack survivor’s case

Mohammed Wakil and his wife Mumtaz Begum at their Shiv Vihar residence in New Delhi | Photo: The Hindu (Ankita)

A court in Delhi has directed the police to file a first information report (FIR) in the case of Mohammed Wakil, who lost eyesight in an acid attack during 2020 Delhi riots.

Waquar Hasan | 

Support TwoCircles

NEW DELHI — Family members of Mohammed Wakil, who lost his eyesight in the acid attack during Delhi riots, are now hoping for justice after a court in Delhi ordered the Karawal Nagar police station to register an first information report (FIR) on the basis of his complaint.

On 25 February 2020, rioters barged inside Wakil’s house in Shiv Vihar area in northeast Delhi, threw acid on his face due to which he lost his eyesight. The rioters robbed and burnt his house and shop. Wakil had filed a complaint with the Karawal Nagar police station and the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Mohammed Shamim, son of Wakil, told that they had to move court seeking the registration of the FIR after the police merged his complaint with another FIR. In September last year, they filed a case at the Karkardooma court with the help of promiment Muslim religious body Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH).

“We had filed a complaint during the riots but the FIR was registered with another complaint. Then, we filed an appeal to file a separate FIR in our case. Our complaint was merged with another complaint which was related to torching vehicles and houses. Our issue was the attack on my father in which he lost his eyesight,” said Shamim.

On Saturday (19 November), passing the order, Magistrate Vaibah Kumar said “keeping in mind the totality of the facts and the circumstances, I am inclined to invoke the discretionary power vested in the court by virtue of section 156(3) Cr.P.C. Reference is made to the Judgment of the Constitutional Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari v. State of UP 2014 (2), SCC 1. An FIR be registered at PS Karawal Nagar, under appropriate provisions of law and investigation shall be carried out as per law”.

The court also directed the police to file a compliance report on 25 November this year.

In the order, the court noted that the complaint filed by Wakil requires “detailed investigations” which cannot be possible without active assistance from the state machinery.

“From the careful scrutiny of the record it appears that all the facts and circumstances taken up together hint at commission of cognizable offence, if the allegations in the complaint are found to be correct. Further, it is undeniably evident from the matter on record that allegations made in the complaint require a thorough and detailed investigation which cannot be undertaken without active assistance and expertise of the state machinery,” the Magistrate said. 

He also pointed out that the FIR lodged by the police in Wakil’s case was on the basis of police offiicial’s complaint not the complaint of Wakil. The earlier FIR also does not mention the IPC sanctions under which the accused was booked.   

“Also the perusal of the contents of FIR which has been mentioned by the IO (Investigative Officer) to have been registered regarding the said incident shows that the same is regarding the complaint by some police official regarding acid burns and not regarding the complaints of the complainant and also it does not mention the appropriate sections of IPC which prima facies emerge from the perusal of the complaint. Thus, in the considered opinion of the court, assistance of the investigating agency is necessary and the court feels that the cause of justice is likely to suffer in the absence of investigation by the police,” observed Magistrate Kumar in the order.

After the court order, Shamim, who is currently in Chennai for the treatment of his father, said that they now hope that they can get justice and the police may act on his complaint in a fair manner.

“Now, we have a hope that perhaps we will get justice. If the court is acting, perhaps the police would also not take up the matter lightly. If the police act properly, justice can be served to us in a fair manner. The law is equal for all but the administration does not keep it that way,” he said.

Salim Malik, who is the counsel for Wakil, said that he is overseeing many cases related to Delhi riots at the direction of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH). Last year, Vakil had contacted them to help in his case. They helped him to file the case seeking the registration of the FIR.

“It was a part of Jamiat’s relief program for the Delhi riots victims,” he said.

In a statement, Niyaz Ahmed Farooqui, secretary at Jamiat, said “Wakil is getting treatment from Chennai with help of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.”

“The Jamiat also built his house for them and helped them in the establishment of some grocery stalls. But there was always the feeling that the rioters who tried to destroy them are still roaming free,” he said. 

Farooqui said because of the delay in justice, Wakil was disappointed and he had lost interest in pursuing the case. “But after the intervention of Jamiat General Secretary Maulana Hakeemuddin Qasmi and Maulana Ghayur Qasmi, he started following his case,” he added.

Waquar Hasan is a journalist based in Delhi. He covers human rights and hate crimes. He tweets at @WaqarHasan1231