A letter to the President of India has been sent by Advocate Prashant Bhsuhan along with former senior government officials, ambassadors, senior police officers, activists and academics, seeking a “Commission of Inquiry” in the communal violence that took place in North-East Delhi in February 2020 as a part of the investigation process.
The letter is acknowledged to have 72 signatories marking the allegations of police complicity in the violence in Delhi Riots and under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 seeking a “credible” and “unbiased” stance into the incident by appointing sitting/retired judge(s) of the higher judiciary.
The North East Delhi communal violence between the 23rd and 26th of February, 2020 reported 53 deaths. Three Special Investigation Teams (SITs) led by officials have been set up by the Delhi Police and also the Delhi Police Special Cell is looking into the aspect of conspiracy behind the Delhi riots matter.
The letter points that the Delhi Police “deliberately” did not prevent violence and, even became a complicit in some places in Delhi Riots case.
For example, a disturbing video emerged from near the Maujpur metro station where uniformed policemen assaulted an injured youth, subsequent to which he was allegedly illegally detained by the Police for over 36 hours and denied medical attention.
The addresses state that“Shockingly the First Information Report registered by the Bhajanpura Police station makes no mention of the clearly documented video footage of the police assaulting Faizan and the Delhi police have not named any policemen as accused in the Delhi Riots case.”
The ongoing probe by the Delhi police does not inspire confidence and perception that the agency is “shielding its own”is bound to be created. Hence, the President is requested to ensure that officers accused of being complicit in the violence are not involved in the investigation by the Delhi Police, to ensure that justice is done.
The letter highlights incidents of custodial torture done by the Delhi Police by citing various news and media channels, extraction of money to desist from harming detent and obtaining forceful confessions. Allegations that the Delhi Police has been employing illegal means during interrogation, such as attempting to intimidate the witnesses/ offering them “deals” in exchange for giving statements against activists and those involved in the protests.
Objections to the “pattern” of the police, charging people under additional FIRs and more stringent sections if they are granted relief by the judiciary in existing cases could be seen.
Bias related to the Politics
Police refused to register FIRs in cases involving BJP leaders and did not pursue any such complaints.
“It is extremely concerning that the Delhi Police has refused to put nearly 700 FIRs registered by it in the public domain. In fact,it has not even made a summary of the FIRs available to citizens. This creates an asymmetry of information and thwarts all attempts at public scrutiny as only the Police knows which complaints and allegations are being pursued and which continue to languish”
Dissent and Protest, a Crime
Objection have also been raised toa single “line of inquiry” approach adopted by the Delhi Police, i.e., criminalizing the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and portraying them as a conspiracy which resulted in the Delhi riots in Delhi.
“The protests in Delhi were exemplary in their adoption of Gandhian means of non-violent action and were recognized for their peaceful nature not only across the nation, but also globally. The protests in the form of 24 hour sit-ins were legitimate, within the framework of the Indian Constitution and were an expression of those aggrieved by the CAA, NPR and NRC… Therefore, the criminalisation of this act and presenting it as part of a conspiracy by the Delhi Police is completely unwarranted”, the letter quoted.
“The chronology presented in the chargesheets also criminalises dissent by claiming that speeches criticising the CAA, NPR, NRC led to instigation of violence in Delhi…However, a perusal of the contents of the speeches as presented in the chargesheets shows that while being strongly critical of government policy, in no direct or indirect manner was there any incitement or call to violence in Delhi Riots .”
The President has been requested to take cognizance of the issues raised in the letter and ensure that the investigation is free and fair by setting up an independent inquiry Commission in Delhi Riots .
Read the Letter: