BJP youth wing member allegedly boasts about burning Rohingya camp in Delhi, Criminal complaint filed

On Thursday, April 19, activist and public interest lawyer Prashant Bhushan filed a criminal complaint against Manish Chandela, member of BJP youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), after the latter allegedly admitted on Twitter to being involved in burning down a Rohingya refugee camp in Delhi that has left more than 200 Rohingya refugees without shelter. Chandela’s brazen tweet can be read here. The account has since been taken down.

Bhushan posted photographs of the complaint on Twitter, captioning them, “My criminal complaint against Manish Chandela of BJYM who proudly boasted on social media that he & his associates burnt down the Rohingya camp. No action yet by @DelhiPolice to register case & arrest him & no action by BJP to remove him from party. State of rule of law under BJP”. 

Ahead of Bhushan’s complaint, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella organisation of various Muslim groups, also wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik regarding Chandela’s alleged admission, and included screenshots of the tweets. “The open claim on social media by the culprit is a challenge to the Delhi Police and all other law enforcement agencies. The tweet was posted immediately after the fire in the refugee camp… We demand immediate arrest of Manish Chandela under appropriate sections of the IPC,” the letter said. 

Bhushan’s complaint also contains screenshots of tweets allegedly by Chandela mentioning his purported involvement in the fire. They show that on April 15, Chandela, whose Twitter handle was allegedly @CHANDELA_BJYM, responded to a tweet about the fire with the sentence “Well DONE BY OUR HEROES”. When another Twitter user asked about this, the @CHANDELA_BJYM handle replied, “Yes we burnt the houses of Rohingya terrorists”. The next day @CHANDELA_BJYM tweeted “Yes we did/And we do again” with the hashtag #ROHINGYAQUITINDIA.  

On Sunday, April 15, a massive fire broke out at Rohingya refugee camp in Kalindi Kunj in Delhi. The police had then said that the fire was caused by a short circuit. Although no casualties were reported, more than 225 Rohingya refugees lost their makeshift homes and possessions to the fire, which destroyed about 44 shanties. The fire spread rapidly, because shanties had plastic sheets to cover the makeshift shelters. Rohingya refugees informed news agencies that they lost all their possessions, including the limited money that they had since they lacked bank accounts. They also lost United Nations-issued special visas and identity cards. The Rohingya refugee camp had been established in 2012 by a non-governmental organisation; 46 Rohingya families lived there. 

On April 9, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to submit a comprehensive status report within four weeks regarding the amenities at the two Rohingya camps in Haryana and Delhi following accusations that toilets and drinking water were not available. Chief Justice Dipak Misra headed a bench that questioned if it could hear a plea about such amenities just for the Rohingya while thousands of people in other Indian slums also lack them. Prashant Bhushan, representing the Rohingya, told the Supreme Court that they were suffering discrimination with regards to basic amenities. However, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, denied that the Rohingya were being discriminated against. The Supreme Court will discuss the issue again on May 9.  



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