A London Business School MBA graduate who left her corporate job to contest Gurgaon’s mayoral elections, Nisha Singh was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by a Gurgaon District Court for inciting a mob that attacked police and government officials during an anti-encroachment campaign in the district in 2015.
His lawyer, Ashok Verma, told the Indian Express that they plan to challenge the conviction: “We will seek redress from the High Court. There were some things that we had presented to the court, which were not taken into account at this stage. We hope to be relieved.
Singh had contested and won the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram polls in 2011 as an independent candidate. In 2014, she joined the AAP. She is among 17 people – 10 women and 7 men – convicted in connection with the attack which took place in Jhimar Basti, sector 47 of Fatehpur Jharsa. The seven men were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, while the women were sentenced to 7 years. imprisonment. Apart from Singh, all the condemned are former inhabitants of the demolished Basti.
The case relates to an incident that occurred on May 15, 2015, when a team of HSVP (HUDA) workers reached Jhimar Basti for debris removal as per an order from the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon, after a campaign of demolition was carried out in le basti on April 12, 2015.
According to the case log, the prosecution said that when officials arrived at the scene with police, they found the invaders had been instigated by Singh and others, who threatened officials not to uproot them. The prosecution claimed that the mob became furious and attacked the officials throwing rocks and throwing bottles filled with petrol and LPG cylinders. The magistrate on duty and 15 police officers were injured and a nearby barracks and a car caught fire. A fire brigade was called in to put it out and police fired tear gas to control the situation.
A total of 19 people, including Singh, were arrested and jailed under sections 114, 148, 149, 186, 307, 332, 353, 427, 435 of the IPC and section 3 of the explosive substances at Sadar police station. Two of the defendants died during the trial.
The prosecution heard from 33 witnesses during the trial. One, a police officer, claimed that when the mob attacked with Molotov cocktails and set fire to cylinders, Nisha Singh “continually verbally encouraged the mob to attack the administration more violently”. The police officer further stated that “it seemed like Nisha Singh’s presence was the only reason for the violence.” Singh’s lawyer maintained that she was not present at the site when the mob allegedly began throwing rocks at officials and did not arrive until half an hour later.
In Thursday’s order, the court said it was clear that the convicts first formed an unlawful assembly and then carried out the common purpose of inflicting injuries on police and HUDA officials. “The intent of the convicts in committing the offense was clear from the fact that they chose to use explosives and petrol bombs to deter officials and attempted to create an obstruction in the exercise of their official functions. The convicts are safe and sound. There is nothing on the basis of which it can be believed that there are mitigating circumstances on the basis of which the court should take a lenient stance on sentencing,” the court said.
He added, “The moment Nisha Singh was removed from the venue, the crowd fell silent. This shows that Nisha Singh’s presence was only the reason for the violence. Due to this violence, the work had to be stopped and when the matter was settled, officers from various departments resumed work.