Delhi Minorities Commission chairman, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan has written a sternly worded letter to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, alerting him to a video, where a self-organised group of residents is talking about ‘banning’ Muslims from entering their neighbourhood.
“We will not let any Muslim enter our lanes,” a man, who is also shooting the video on his phone can be heard saying. He is a part of a group of men sitting in a tight circle on a public road that runs through their colony of Shastri Nagar. The group is specially checking each vendor as they pass by, asking their names, seeking Aadhaar cards, and warning the ones they suspect of being Muslim against entering the colony. The video, posted on Facebook has also asked everyone else in the city to follow them and not allow Muslims to enter their neighbourhoods. “Request you all not to let any Musalmaan enter your lanes. Ask their names, and if he is a Musalmaan chase them away. They are spreading a mess,” says the man.
He then starts harassing an innocent vendor passing by demanding that he returns with his identification papers the next day, “else we will not let you enter this lane, understood?” The scared vendor identifies himself as a Yadav and is told to bring his Aadhaar card as proof. Another is told to get lost from the neighbourhood and also return with an Aadhaar card. “Else do not come here, you will get beaten with sticks otherwise,” threatens the man making the hate video. He proudly shares how he “caught” a vendor who called himself Misra, but “turned out to be Muhhamed Imran. We beat him up and chased him away” he repeats his ‘request’ that others follow his violent example.
Shot in Shastri Nagar, New Delhi 110052, perhaps on or around April 5, it is clearly a hate video which calls for violence against Muslims, in addition to being an obvious one for socio-economic boycott of Muslim vendors. This hate video from the Delhi locality is the latest dangerous sign of a Khap panchayat style group generating hate between communities and talking about a private army style ‘patrolling and punishment’. Their aim seems to be to target workers and vendors. That they chose to have this ‘meeting’ openly on a public road, during a lockdown speaks of the level of ‘confidence’ they seem to enjoy.
Dr Khan has taken a firm stand against such behaviour and asked Delhi Police to take action. “The gathering in the video attracts action under IPC Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration),” writes Dr Khan in his letter to the commissioner.
He has asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to order, “appropriate action against this group to punish them for what they are doing, and planning and also to send a message to others that such criminal activity will not be tolerated. The police have been asked to file a report on the matter to the DMC within a week.
According to Dr Khan, swift action on this issue is crucial. “They should be suitably punished for what they are planning and are also giving an instant example when they stop two fruit/vegetable vendors from entering their colony and threaten them of dire consequences if they enter without their Aadhaar cards to show that they are not Muslims. No one has the right to stop others from using public roads and public spaces.”
He added that the men sitting together for this meeting had also violated lockdown ordered by the Prime Minister. “The people seen in the meeting are also in violation of Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act for holding this meeting as it is in violation of the current lockdown order.”
The video has been seen by many on social media platforms
Hello @DelhiPolice , this video is from Shastri Nagar.
Local residents have decided that they won’t allow any Muslim into their premises.
They will seek identity cards of visitors to check their religion.
This happening in India when world fighting #COVID19Pandemic . pic.twitter.com/Cq6pHclqPR
— Md Asif Khan آصِف (@imMAK02) April 5, 2020
Dr Khan has also emailed the video to the Police Commissioner.
He also raised the issue of the lack of response from DCP North East when the commission had written about the situation in an area which was yet to recover from the anti-Muslim pogrom when the Coronavirus pandemic broke, and a national lockdown followed. “We refer to our earlier communications via email (due to the current lockdown) during the last few days to you as well as to the DCP North East for which we have received no reply or even acknowledgements so far. This is a very serious matter and amounts to contempt of a statutory body with quasi-judicial powers which functions as a civil court as per law,” he writes.
Copies of this letter have also been sent to the Lt. Governor and Chief Minister of Delhi.
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