13:09 GMT23 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In February, India’s national capital witnessed large-scale violence and arson that claimed over 50 lives and left more than 400 people injured. The clashes are considered to be the worst communal violence the city has witnessed in decades.

    The Delhi police on Monday revealed that Tahir Hussain, a suspended member of Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party, has admitted to being the mastermind behind the northeast Delhi riots.

    Officials investigating the matter said that during questioning Hussain revealed he wanted to teach Hindus a lesson using his political clout and money.

    "Tahir (Hussain) used the support of several people including members of the Popular Front of India (PFI, an Islamic organisation which claims to be working for Muslim empowerment)", police sources associated with the case told Sputnik. 

    "During interrogation, he revealed that he was aggrieved after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir then the ruling of India's top court in favour of Ram Temple and later the government passing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and hence decided to take an extreme step", the sources added. 

    The police, in several charge-sheets, also mentioned him as a mastermind. They also found that PFI had funded the riots. 

    "We found out that earlier in January, Tahir and former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid met at the PFI office in Delhi. They conspired to launch a war against Hindus to make the central government roll back its decision on CAA. In the meeting, Tahir was told that PFI would provide all the financial assistance needed", the police sources said. 

    It was planned that the riots should be carried out during US President Donald Trump's first visit to India to ramp up pressure on the Narendra Modi-led central government, the police said.

    "To execute the plan, Tahir had started making petrol bombs at the top of his terrace, storing acid, bricks, stones, diesel, etc. Tahir had also ensured that all the CCTV cameras were damaged so that the police could not get any evidence", a police officer linked to the investigation revealed while requesting anonymity, adding that to avoid suspicion Tahir kept calling the Delhi police during the riots.

    On 1 August, the Delhi police also questioned former JNU student Khalid about his meeting with Tahir ahead of the three-day riots in northeasr Delhi that soon evolved into communal violence.

    Tensions gripped several parts of northeast Delhi earlier this year after it witnessed clashes between pro-Citizenship Law (CAA) and anti-CAA groups. As clashes later turned communal, over 80 houses were set on fire, more than 50 shops and four mosques were also set ablaze.

    Enacted in December 2019, the CAA, or the Citizenship Law granted Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, barring Muslims from attaining the status. The law sparked violent protests across India for allegedly discriminating against Muslims, who form a 200-million-strong minority in the secular country.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, however, clarified on different occasions that no Indian citizen would be affected by the law as it "seeks to grant citizenship, not snatch it". The law is related to immigrants seeking refuge in India. It is not related to Indian citizens of any religious community, the government has stated.


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    Jawaharlal Nehru University, Donald Trump, US President, funding, violence, ruling party, Riots, New Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party
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