Delhi Police allowed Hindu mobs to roam the streets freely to target the Muslim community during the northeast Delhi violence and even joined them in attacking local Muslim residents of the region, a fact-finding report by the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) said on Thursday.
“The Police was coordinating with the mob and the mob kept on chanting: “Dilli Police Zindabad” (Long Live Delhi Police),” while detailing violence against Muslims unleashed by Hindu mob in the national capital in February this year, the report said.
State Minority Commission’s 134-page report has tried to delve into the causes of violence and its perpetrators along with the role of Delhi Police which comes under Home Minister Amit Shah.
The report already submitted to Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
No cooperation from Delhi Police: Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan
While releasing the report, Commission chairman Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan told media that due to the non-cooperation of Delhi Police, the fact-finding committee could not present a more comprehensive and incisive report.
The Minorities Commission issued a notice under Section 10(h) of the DMC Act on 18 March to the Delhi Police requiring a list of detainees since 23 February, Police station-wise copies of FIRs, and complaints not converted into FIRs. The Commission received no response to this till compilation of the fact-finding report.
“Police has not registered many complaints of Muslim victims, including the most glaring example of the Mohan Nursing Home Shooting and hence no investigation has taken place on it and other such grave issues and incidents. In most cases, chargesheets have been filed by Police first against Muslim accused and the entire narrative has been changed to one of violence on both sides rather than a pogrom that was in fact carried out,” Dr. Khan added.
The report pointed that to crush the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, with support of the administration and Police, a retaliatory plan of pro-CAA protesters was worked out to trigger violence at a large scale which led to loss of lives and damage to hundreds of properties owned mainly by the Muslim religious minority.
Police failed to take the first preventive step needed to avoid violence
“Deputy Commissioner of Police North East district, Shri Ved Prakash Surya, was standing right next to Shri Kapil Mishra when he said “after that we will not listen to the police…”. At this point, the police failed to apprehend and arrest Kapil Mishra and all those gathered to hear and cheered his speech. This indicates that they failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and protect life and property,” the report reads.
The report criticized Delhi Police and stated that the multiple testimonies collected by fact-finding committee recount reports of Police inaction even as violence unfolded before them, or of Police not arriving despite being called repeatedly.
It further adds: “Testimonies also recall how the Police were patrolling the area, but when asked for help, they refused saying they had no orders to act. This suggests that the failure to prevent violence was not due to individual or sporadic breaches, but was a pattern of deliberate inaction over several days. The Delhi Police failed to exercise its prohibitory powers, under the Delhi Police Act, 1978 which enable the Commissioner of Police to promulgate orders prohibiting the carrying of weapons and arms, and the assembly of persons as “necessary for the preservation of public order”.”
Police omits the name of Hindu rioters
The report argues that in some instances victims have said that they are being asked to ‘compromise’ with the accused persons named by them in their complaints.
“Police have been visiting them for inquiries without sporting name tags, which is not only a violation of criminal procedure but also adds to the general climate of fear and distrust prevalent after the violence,” the report reads.
A resident of Old Mustafabad stated to the Minorities Commission’s fact-finding team that residents of Brijpuri, cut Muslims coming out of the Farroqia Masjid at into pieces and threw them in the drain. The respondent said that he also recognized some local men namely Rahul Verma and Arun Baisoya. Rahul Verma sent many of the Muslims who were praying inside the mosque to their deaths by shooting at them and Arun Baisoya started throwing petrol bombs inside the mosque.
After filing a police complaint, the Delhi Police officers personally visited him and conveyed to him a message to compromise with the named persons or write a new complaint without naming the persons in his complaint.
“In multiple testimonies, victims of violence have reported that FIRs have either been delayed or have not been acted upon,” the report claimed.
“In some cases police refused to register an FIR unless the complainant omitted names of the accused.113 This is in clear violation of the mandate of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as the conclusive judicial opinion and directives laid down by the Supreme Court of India in its judgement in Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others. The law is settled that every information of a cognizable offence, irrespective of the source of information or its credibility, is to be mandatorily registered by the officer in charge of the police station and entered into a designated register. The failure to register FIRs promptly and accurately will adversely affect the prosecution of these offences,” report points.
Bias in Police probe
Partisanship and bias on the part of the Police and Government have led to the abject failure of duty and of the law and order machinery in the capital city, the report said.
The report also argues that Police investigations have purposefully been misdirected to change the narrative of the cause of the violence.
The report further argues: “The police’s failure to register FIRs pertaining to complaints in which the accused are named raise serious doubts regarding the credibility of the entire investigation process. Submission of chargesheets without proper investigation into complaints with named accused further creates doubts about the impartiality and objectivity of the investigation as well as the overall narrative being put forward by Delhi Police.”
The report found that the crucial aspects of the entire chain of events are missing from most of the chargesheets that have been filed till date and which could be accessed by the fact-finding committee.
“Almost all the North East Delhi violence-related cases that Police are investigating are based on the premise that riots were planned by anti-CAA protesters to coincide with the US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in the third week of February. The first reference to the forthcoming Trump visit was published in India on 13 January while the alleged meeting of the “conspirators” is claimed by police to have been held on 8 January 2020.”
Minorities Commission’s report also stated that the speech of Kapil Mishra made on 23 February 2020 as well as other speeches and statements inciting violence against anti-CAA protesters have been ignored in chargesheets.
Police joined in attacking Muslims
The fact-finding committee also received a video of the Muazzin, resident of northeast Delhi narrating his story. He said that the Police beat him inside the Brijpuri Pulia Masjid after he had performed his Namaz and had gone to his house which is attached to the Mosque. He says police beat him a lot. His photo and video show the injured condition.
Police attacks pregnant woman
Women from the Chand Bagh area described to the Minorities Commission’s fact-finding team how they were attacked by the Police. The physical attacks on women were carried out by male Police officers.
The report talks about an ordeal of a pregnant woman, who received 35 stitches after being hit by the Police at the Chand Bagh anti-CAA protest site. She states that she is pregnant and one of the tear gas shells exploded right in front of her.
“She somehow managed to get to Al-Hind Hospital where she was treated and informed that she had received about 35 stitches on her head. She was so traumatized that slogans like ‘Hindustan Hamaara hai, ek bhee Musalmaan nahi rahega yahaan’ (India is ours, not even one Muslim will stay here!), kept ringing inside her head,” the report reads.
Delhi Police sexually assaulted us: Muslim women
One of the protesters at the Chand Bagh sit-in stated that the Delhi Police brutally attacked and even sexually assaulted women.
The report reads: “In her harrowing account, she stated that she was being attacked by rioters at Chand Bagh and that the two men who were trying to help her were being beaten up by the Police. She was even witness to the police dragging a 12-13-year-old girl. She tried to protect her but failed as she was hit on the head by a stone and she subsequently fainted. When she regained consciousness, she saw that there were many injured women around. The crowd of the rioters continuously kept abusing them. She recounts that it was then that the Police pulled their pants down and pointed their genitals towards the women stating that they wanted “freedom” and they were there to give them “freedom” and that this was their “freedom”.”