Opposition leaders meet President Kovind to demand judicial enquiry into Delhi riots
They submitted a letter accusing Delhi Police of being complicit in the riots or looking the other way while mobs indulged in violence, and launching a roving enquiry against anti-CAA protestors
Questioning the role played by Delhi Police during the carnage in north-east Delhi in February 2020, several leaders of the Opposition met President Ram Nath Kovind to demand a judicial enquiry into the riots.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi, Communist Party of India national secretary D Raja and Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj K Jha met Kovind to demand a credible and unbiased probe into the Delhi riots.
They have demanded that the government institute an enquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by a sitting or retired judge.
“There are serious questions about the role played by the Delhi Police itself during the riots and also the manner in which the police has been harassing and attempting to falsely implicate activists and young leaders involved in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests as the perpetrators of the violence. Such manufactured conspiracy theories have begun to falsely implicate political leaders. The name of parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury and several intellectuals and academicians have surfaced in the material. This is a disturbing trend and questions the manner of the investigations being conducted,” states the letter submitted by the Opposition leaders.
The leaders pointed towards several publicly documented videos of the police being complicit in the violence in north-east Delhi and looking the other way when mobs indulged in violence. “Disturbing videos of policemen assaulting injured young men lying on the road and forcing them to sing the national anthem while repeatedly beating them with lathis have been circulated. One of the men Faizan succumbed to his injuries a few days later,” highlighted the Opposition leaders.
This letter to the President comes after former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid was arrested late on Sunday for his alleged role in the riots. He was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In the 17,000-page chargesheet, 15 people have been named and all of them are only anti-CAA protestors. The police also said that their investigation in the case is ongoing and it expects to file a supplementary chargesheet against the accused who have not been named so far. But the police has failed to book BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who had threatened to remove the protestors if they did not clear out themselves just before the violence broke out on February 23.
The Opposition leaders, in their letter, have underscored the notable silence in the chargesheets on the role of leaders who gave inflammatory speeches. “Since December 2019 there are publicly documented speeches of leaders of the ruling party instigating and provoking violence against those involved in anti-CAA protests, including that of a minister raising slogans to ‘shoot the traitors’. Even when several people have courageously filed complaints against BJP leaders – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sharma, Satya Pal Singh, Jagdish Pradhan, Nand Kishore Gujjar, Mohan Singh Bisht – accusing them of participating or orchestrating the violence, there has been no action by the Delhi Police,” the Opposition leaders wrote in the letter.
The Delhi Police has turned a blind eye towards the role of its personnel and BJP leaders, but have pursued the line of enquiry criminalising the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and have portrayed them as the reason for the riots. “The entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a pre-mediated theory about a conspiracy propounded by the Home Minister in Lok Sabha in March 2020, before any investigation had even begun into the riots,” stated the letter.
The FIR 59/2020 regarding the ‘conspiracy’ being investigated by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, in which UAPA has been invoked, is being used to carry out a roving inquiry against activists who were involved in the protests. The police has been ‘maliciously leaking disclosure statements’, which cannot be submitted as evidence in an attempt to influence public opinion and malign them, it says.