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Relatives of victims of the riots mourn at a hospital in New Delhi on Thursday. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday announced that it had suspended its municipal councillor Tahir Hussain, who was booked in the murder case of an Intelligence Bureau staffer.

“Tahir Hussain has been suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party for the duration of the probe against him in connection with the Delhi violence,” the AAP said in a tweet.

Earlier on Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, asked about charges of involvement in violence and arson in northeast Delhi against the AAP councillor, had said: “Any person found guilty should be given strict punishment. If any Aam Aadmi Party member is found guilty, he or she should be given double the punishment.”

The Delhi Police registered a murder case against Hussain in the killing of IB staffer Ankit Sharma, on the basis of a complaint given by Sharma’s father.

Sharma’s body was recovered on Wednesday from a sewer in Jafarabad and the autopsy report on Thursday said that he was brutally stabbed to death. His family has alleged Hussain’s supporters brutally assaulted Sharma and killed him.

Target, not the attacker

Hussain claimed that he was the “target”, and “not the attacker”.

Speaking to reporters in the national capital, he said, “I was the target and not the attacker. Just tell me one thing, will any rioter allow the police to enter his house if he is involved?”

His remarks came after a number of videos surfaced on social media, showing people allegedly throwing petrol bombs and stones from his rooftop. Following the surfacing of the videos, Delhi Police have sealed Hussain’s house besides registering a case against him.

In one such video, Hussain is seen holding a wooden stick with smoke rising from his building. Admitting that he was seen in the video, he clarified that the video was of February 24.

“The rioters had entered my house after breaking the main door. I was trying to shoo them away using a lathi,” he said, adding that he had even called the police but no one responded to his calls.

Hussain further said that the police came to his house at 9 pm on Sunday. “Joint Commissioner Alok Kumar and DCP A.K. Singla came here. They searched my house in the presence of my neighbours, following which I left along with my family,” he said, adding that when he returned on Tuesday morning, he found the situation has worsened. So he left again after speaking to the police.

Hussain’s house has come under the scanner after a number of videos on social media showed over 100 to 150 people pelting stones, throwing petrol bombs and acid on Monday and Tuesday afternoon.