Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times
The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) has been intensely mapping the damage caused by the pogrom that was unleashed in the Muslim dominated areas of North-East Delhi in February, 2020. A 10-member fact-finding committee chaired by M.R. Shamshad, Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court of India, has started its work in the area, assisted by 30 volunteers. They are surveying the riot affected areas to verify and record the actual damage, using a detailed assessment form. The data collected will show the actual figures of the number of dead, injured, and damage to properties. This data is being collected by volunteers who are going door-to-door visiting the victims’ houses, shops and relief camps.
The DMC has also placed notices in the violence-affected areas to let people know that the fact-finding committee has been formed. The committee helpline numbers are: 8076282502, 9540060606, 9717455303.
Each responded is given a receipt after they fill the assessment form. The DMC will also monitor cases where the victims are being denied due compensation or whose FIRs have not been registered by Delhi Police. The DMC fact-finding committee is in regular contact with the victims, the police as well as the local administration and have also set up a help desk at Mustafabad Eidgah. A large number of survivors had taken shelter here and the local administration had placed bands on their wrists as an identification. Many of these victims had been complaining of inadequate relief material, and said they were facing difficulties in registering FIRs. Lawyers volunteering with the DMC team are helping the victims file the official paperwork needed to access compensation and seek justice. The DMC has also asked North East Delhi District Magistrate to provide the list of all compensation forms filed by victims to the SDMs.
Apart from the fact-finding committee, senior DMC officials including chairman Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, members Kartar Singh Kochhar and Anastasia Gill have been meeting victims regularly to reassure them. Volunteers, helped by non governmental organisations have ensured that relief material reaches the victims.
The minorities commission has also issued a warning to Delhi Police to, “desist from haphazard arrests of youth from the North East district.” The DMC, has told the area DCP that, “if such arrests do not stop, and the Commission gets documented cases, legal action will be taken against those responsible.” Another notice has been sent to DCP North East seeking that the complete list of all violence-related FIRs registered since 23 February 2020, as well as copies of all complaints to this effect which were not converted into FIRs, be handed to the commission.
According to a statement issued by the commission they have also sent the are DCP North East, “four photographs of a lynching case on 24 February 2020 where clearly identifiable persons, including one identified as Anant Bhardwaj are seen lynching one Muhammad Zubair at an underpass near Bhajanpura market.” The DCP has been asked to share details of what action has been taken in the case.