Riot call by Hindu mob from loudspeakers: Delhi court says “sorry state of affairs” as no progress in probe

Four days of violence by Hindutva mobs in the Indian capital has left more than 50 people dead and hundreds wounded. Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of Malik, who was killed in stone-pelting. Photo: Shakeeb KPA/Maktoob

A Delhi court on Tuesday pulled up Delhi Police for not making any progress in an FIR lodged in June in connection with a Hindu mob being mobilised using loudspeakers to target Muslims during the anti-Muslim pogrom in northeast Delhi.

This is “really a sorry state of affairs”, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav observed.

Judge Yadav’s comments came after the city police told the court that the people named in the complaint have not been interrogated yet.

In April last year, the court had directed the police to lodge a first information report after Nasir Ahmed, a resident of Delhi’s Bhagirathi Vihar area, claimed he was a witness to the violence by the Hindu mob in the area. He had claimed that he identified several people from a mob of 200 to 250 persons who were rioting near the Gokalpuri toll tax building on February 24 last year.

In his complaint filed on March 13 this year, Ahmed said that the mob had installed loudspeakers and urged the “persons of a particular community to go and vandalise and put on fire the houses of persons of other community”, reported The Indian Express.

Nasir Ahmad had said his house was also vandalised and looted during the pogrom.

The Muslim man who was one among the hundreds of survivors of the anti-Muslim campaign had also told the Delhi court he had called the police for help on the day his godown was set on fire as well as when the loudspeakers were installed but the cops did not respond.

According to a PTI report, Ahmad had then filed several complaints with the police but no action was taken. He had also received threats.

Following Judge Yadav’s directives, the police had filed the FIR in June.

“It appears that the present case has so far not got the attention of either Worthy Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police or the SIC constituted by him,” the court said.

The court granted the special public prosecutor time till the next hearing to take instructions and apprise it on the investigation carried out in the case so far, Indian Express reported.

“It is being claimed by the police in other cases of riots that the circumstances prevailing during the period of riots and almost four weeks thereafter were really difficult and the police could not investigate the cases properly,” said the judge. “Thereafter, Delhi was engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic and, as such, the quality investigation in the matter could not take place.”

Judge Yadav asked if the police can use the same excuse in the present case. “The answer has to be “clear no”,” he said.