A Delhi court on Thursday sentenced Dinesh Yadav – the first person convicted in connection with the violent riots that swept parts of the national capital in February 2020 – to five years in jail.
Yadav also becomes the first person to be sentenced in connection with the riots.
Dinesh Yadav had been convicted last month for being a member of an unlawful assembly and rioting, and taking part in robbing and burning down the house of a 73-year-old woman.
The maximum sentence for his crimes is 10 years in jail.
The prosecution had argued Yadav was an “active member of the riotous mob”, and played a role in vandalising and burning down the woman’s home in Bhagirathi Vihar in northeast Delhi’s Gokulpuri.
The elderly woman, identified as Manori, had said a mob of around 150 to 200 rioters attacked her house on February 25, when her family was away, and looted several valuables.
She told the court how she had been forced to jump from the roof of her home to save her life and that she had to hide in a neighbour’s home, while her family called on the police to rescue her.
While hearing the case, Delhi’s Karkardooma court considered the statement of two police personnel as key; the police said Dinesh Yadav was part of the mob that attacked Manori’s home, but the accused himself had not been seen burning down the house.
But the court ruled that Yadav being part of the mob meant he was as responsible as those who actually did burn the house down.
Meanwhile, yesterday, in another case related to the riots, the Delhi High Court granted bail to six people accused of vandalising and setting fire to a shop in the Gokulpuri area.
The fire, police said, led to the death of 22-year-old Dilbar Negi, a store employee, whose mutilated body was recovered from the shop premises two days later.
The police said the accused allegedly also ransacked and torched several other shops in the area
Communal clashes broke out in the northeastern parts of Delhi in February 2020 after tension between supporters of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and those protesting against it.
Over 50 people died and around 200 were injured in the violence that followed.