Brick-bats are seen amid vandalised properties in Bhagirathi Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Brick-bats are seen amid vandalised properties in Bhagirathi Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Photo: PTI

The Delhi Riots of 2020 were a series of violent clashes that took place in the national capital in February amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The violent altercation saw over 50 people killed and more than 200 injured. A large number of properties had been damaged as frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.

Since then, the Delhi Police has registered more than 600 cases and a couple thousand people have been detained or arrested in connection with the same over the months. Many individuals continue to remain under detention. More recently, the police had filed a 17,000-page charge sheet in the Delhi riots case.

But while much has been said about the voluminous charge sheet and the activities of the accused, a new and perhaps far more concerning detail has now come to light. Reports indicate that the Delhi Police had inadvertently released the personal details of protected witnesses as a part of the charge sheet. Keep in mind that this would make the witnesses who were previously only known by aliases (such as Beta, Omega, Charlie) known to all who read the charge sheet, including the accused.

First reported in an article by The Wire, this has since been confirmed by other publications too. According to an article by The Indian Express that quoted Delhi Police’s Additional PRO Anil Mittal, the list had been "inadvertently" shared with the accused.

"...a court-related document containing the identities of some of these witnesses has been inadvertently included in the copies of the charge-sheet provided to the accused persons as part of compliance of judicial orders," he was quoted as saying. Mittal assured that steps were being taken to ensure the safety and security of the witnesses.

The accused in the Delhi riots face serious charges and the case continues to be under investigation. While the charge sheet is not a publicly available document, it has been shared with the lawyers of the accused as well as journalists and so on more than three weeks ago. Since then, parts of it has also made its way onto social media platforms.

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