Nuh violence: Court extended police remand of Congress MLA Mamman Khan by 2 days

The Nuh district court on Sunday extended Congress MLA Mamman Khan’s police remand by two days in response to a request from the police for a five-day remand in connection with three additional cases filed against him at the Nagina police station for inciting violence in Nuh on July 31, police offices familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Congress MLA Mamman Khan is produced before a court in Nuh district on Sunday. (PTI)

Khan, the legislator of the Ferozepur Jhirka assembly seat in Nuh, was arrested on Thursday night for his alleged role in inciting the July 31 communal violence that broke out in the district and for allegedly remaining in touch with suspects involved in sharing “misleading” and “provocative” posts on social media platforms to instigate others.

Hours after the legislator was arrested, the Haryana government snapped mobile internet and bulk SMS services in Nuh. On Sunday, the government extended the suspension of internet services until September 19.

During his remand, police took Khan’s phone and laptop and reviewed his social media accounts for evidence, said investigators.

Communal clashes erupted on July 31 in Nuh, around 50km from Gurugram, after mobs attacked a Hindu religious procession organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. The ensuing violence barrelled into neighbouring districts and cities, including Gurugram, leading to the death of six people, with a further 88 injured.

Khan is the 331st suspect — but the most high-profile person — arrested in connection with the violence.

Nuh superintendent of police Narendra Bijarniya said four cases were filed against Khan at the Nagina police station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

During the violence, a large number of government and private vehicles and an oil mill in Badkali Chowk in Nuh were torched by a violent mob. Bijarniya said that in the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Khan not only instigated the violence at Badhkali Chowk but also visited the location hours before the clashes began.

“We had to recover his second phone and his social media accounts via his laptop and mobile phone, which required his remand. We have gathered several pieces of evidence for his role in the violence and his messages and calls with the suspects arrested earlier by the police,” he said.

According to investigation documents submitted by the police in court, the rioters referred to the attack at Nagina “Mission Mamman” and shared “accomplishment reports.” Khan’s involvement in the violence falls under the purview of Indian Penal Code sections 107 (abetment of a thing by instigating someone to do that thing) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), which were invoked in the first information report filed at the Nagina police station in Nuh, said officers.

According to Khan’s counsel, advocate Tahir Hussain Dewla, police took four grounds based on recovery and scanning and collecting evidence from his social media accounts, but no recoveries were made. “Police had concocted several stories, but none of them came true. The court had ordered that Khan not be removed from the district, so he was not moved out of the crime investigation agency’s office in Nuh. My client had no involvement in the Nuh violence or riots; he has been framed by the Opposition,” he said.

Dewla said that the court heard the remand plea at Nuh court on Sunday based on special recommendations from the sessions judge and extended the remand for three other cases by two days. “Police had told the court that Khan refused to sign disclosure statements and did not cooperate in the police investigation, which is incorrect,” he said.

On September 12, Khan petitioned the Punjab and Haryana high court, requesting that he not be arrested without evidence and that a new SIT be formed led by an IG-rank police officer. However, during the hearing of his petition on September 14, the high court refused to grant him relief from arrest and asked him to appeal to a lower court after the Haryana government submitted that his name had been listed as a suspect in a first information report for alleged involvement in the violence.

The high court will hear his request to form a new SIT on October 19.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government extended the suspension of internet and bulk SMS services in Nuh till Tuesday midnight. Officials said the action was taken in response to a request for law and order from Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata, who sent the request to higher authorities on Saturday night.

Khadgata said this directive was issued to prevent disruption in the district’s peace and public order. “This order will be in effect in the district from 6pm on Sunday until 12am on Tuesday. If these orders are violated, legal action will be taken per the applicable provisions,” he said.

He added that misuse of internet services could result in damage to public properties and facilities and disruption of law and order in Nuh, due to the spread of inflammatory material and false rumours.

“Aside from that, a crowd can be gathered and organised to cause serious harm to someone else, arson or vandalism, and other types of violent activities by spreading misinformation and rumours through various social media platforms such as mobile phone, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Internet services have been restricted to prevent damage to public and private property,” he said.

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