New Delhi: A large portion of the evidence in the riots conspiracy chargesheet comprises conversations on WhatsApp groups and individual chats retrieved from the phones of those arrested. At least three WhatsApp groups — JCC JMI Official, Jamia and JCC_JMI — were formed on January 24, apart from a group called “Warriors” created by Pinja Tod for coordination, police claimed.
Also, the Delhi Protesters Support Group (DPSG), police said, had a lot of chatter pertaining to the violence. The chargesheet said the tone and manner of conversations in many groups changed after a few broke ranks and threatened to expose them. “They started talking about relief, rehabilitation and care of victims. The last post on Warriors was on February 24. On March 11, members of groups like DPSG discussed deleting chats and groups,” it added.
Several conversations were linked to what was happening on the ground. “I have access to actors/directors who are willing to do this. Need a scriptwriter to round it out. Or if we have ready scripts, it can be produced,” a chat in one group read.
Criticising Bhim Army, which is headed by activist Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, a message from “Clearing House” in DPSG said, “Bhim Army doesn’t even have the strength of a platoon. It doesn’t exist. It is an army that people have imagined exists because it offers the idea of militancy and romance that has gone missing.”
Another message mentioned in the chargesheet read, “Trump will be in Delhi on 24th or 25th February. Shall we do something that shall affect Delhi at this time so our beloved Trump goes out of mind and might call CAA discriminatory? I believe him to be chaotic enough to say anything.”
“Someone had suggested deleting this group after clearing the chat yesterday and moving to Signal now that the Centre has started going after civil society groups. Why are we still communicating on WhatsApp?” read a message by one of the accused.
Responding to a message calling for a blockade at 23 places in Delhi, one of the arrested people said that police had got wind of their plans, so they should sit calmly. A message under the photograph of Shahrukh, the man who had been photographed wielding a gun during the riots, stated that nobody should share the picture on social media as he was one of their own.
The chargesheet filed on September 16 alleged, “The conspirators, by their ingenuity and criminality of thoughts, presented an entirely new dimension to the meaning of hate speech. Theirs was sugarcoated with nationalism, which hid the sour and sordid truth that it was, in fact, a well-thought attempt at igniting and reinforcing a pan-Islamic identity.”
“By keeping the target audience confused, at times against CAA, at times against the so-called fascism, at times in solidarity with Dalits and marginalised sections, the conspirators had something for everyone who was looking up to their intellectual corpus in the belief that they represented a bona fide political alternative in the vibrant Indian democratic palette,” it further alleged.
Police claimed that the key conspirators worked towards the creation of a group, which eventually came to be known as DPSG, under a “common conspiracy and with a clear mind to mask the protests with the secular facade, providing mass-based and more acceptable civil society participation and also to exploit women and children as a shield while facing the police”.