MHA credits Home Minister with quelling Delhi riots, public investigations find otherwise

Ministry of Home Affairs Review 2020 hails Amit Shah for handling the communal riots well, but three independent fact finding reports countered that months ago

Amit ShahImage courtesy: India Today

The Ministry of Home Affairs Review 2020, report, was uploaded here:

But the link is no longer functional, and the file has presumably been removed pending review. It was, however, condensed into a comprehensive press statement by the PIB which can be accessed here:

In its review of 2020, one of the most defining years of India’s history which among other things marked, massive communal riots in February in Delhi, the sudden Covid-19 lockdown and its aftermath, attacks on minorities, Dalits, human rights defenders, abrogation of Article 370 and division of of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into Union Territories… the Home Ministry has marked most of them as achievements.

What stands out most, is the MHA applauding Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s handling of communal riots which broke out in  Delhi in February 2020. Over a span of six days, February 23 to 29, the riots claimed at least 53 lives and injured more than 500. According to the MHA review, the Home Minister stepped in, and on February 25, chaired a meeting with political parties and senior officials on the issue of violence in Delhi. He is stated to have “urged political parties to avoid provocative speeches and statements which could flare up the communal violence. He noted that the professional assessment is that the violence in the capital has been spontaneous. “

The facts remain that the proactive speeches had already happened in the run up to the Delhi Elections 2020. These communal, hate speeches have all been called out by investigative reports already made public by Delhi Minorities Commission, Delhi State Committee of CPI(M) and Amnesty International. The reports have flagged provocative speeches by the Bharatiya Janata Party politicians including:

Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Minister of State for Finance: He allegedly raised the most dangerous slogan in an election rally in Delhi on January 20, 2020, inciting the public present to chant, “Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s*****n ko” (Shoot down the rascals/the traitors to the country). No action was taken against him. A plea was filed in court by Brinda Karat, Member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) and K.M.Tewari, Secretary Delhi State Committee. After which a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had directed DCP, New Delhi to submit a detailed report to explain why no First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Anurag Thakur and fellow MP Parvesh Verma. 

Parvesh Verma, Member of Parliament: He had allegedly said, “These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them” while targeting Muslims, during the BJP’s Delhi Assembly elections 2020 campaign. This hate speech and Islamophobia, was held responsible by the Delhi Minorities Commission fact finding report investigating the North East Delhi riots. He also threatened to destroy mosques built on ‘government land’ in his constituency, and during the Covid-19 lockdown he posted an old video of namaz saying it violated social distancing norms. He was gently scolded by Delhi Police, which reports to the Home Minister.  

Kapil Mishra, BJP member: A few hours before the communal violence broke out, Kapil Mishra ‘warned’ Delhi Police, as he stood next to Deputy Commissioner of Police North East district, Ved Prakash Surya, “If the roads are not cleared, we will have to come onto the roads.” Mishra, continues to be the most ‘vocal’ BJP politician in Delhi, and still uses social media platforms to spew hate against minority communities.  He has been named by the DMC report on the riots. In November 2020, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) approached the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) with a complaint against Kapil Mishra. 

The MHA Report 2020 claims: Union Home Minister directed deployment of additional forces in affected areas, and on February 27, he took stock of the prevailing Law and Order situation in Delhi.

Fact check: The three-part report by the Delhi State Committee of CPI(M) has directly named Home Minister Amit Shah’s role in police ‘inaction’. It stated: “There has been no answer from him or his ministry as to why adequate security forces were not deployed from February 23 onwards.” It cites that the number of police personnel deployed even as the communal violence raged on was “only between 1,393 and 4,756 ( citing charge sheet based on FIR 59/2020 quoted in Section 2 of this report)” and “by not deploying adequate forces, the Home Ministry deliberately left 13,000 distress calls to the police by frightened citizens unattended.” According to the report, there was “political conspiracy at the highest level to let Delhi burn as part of a political agenda”. 

The MHA Report 2020 claims: Shah responded to a discussion on the recent Law and Order Situation in some parts of Delhi in Rajya Sabha on March 12.

Fact check: He had also made a similar statement in the Lok Sabha on March 11, just days after the riots. The Union Home Minister had applauded the Delhi Police, saying, “Controlling and putting a full stop to riots in just 36 hours in a dense area is a very difficult task. I must say that Delhi police did a commendable job.” However, Amnesty states that the information gathered by them “does not point towards a ‘commendable’ job but instead, reveals a pattern of human rights violations and rampant impunity.” It added that “there have been no investigations till now into the human rights violations committed by the Delhi police during the riots”. Amnesty International India had interviewed more than 50 riot survivors, eye witnesses, lawyers, human rights activists and retired police officers.

In fact on January 27 2020, Shah himself was quoted in multiple news reports saying, “Your vote to (the) BJP candidate will make Delhi and the country safe and prevent thousands of incidents like Shaheen Bagh.” He was speaking in Babarpur, one of the sites of the February riots.

The Union home ministry’s 2020 review has listed Shah’s ‘intervention’ to contain the Delhi riots as one of the highlights of 2020, and suggested the violence that killed 53 people was “spontaneous”. However, it is not yet known what made them disable the link online, hours after news reports revealed the details on January 9, 2021.



Independent inquiry into the North East Delhi communal violence must be set up: CPI(M)

Establish independent review of Delhi Police’s role North East Delhi riots: Amnesty

North-East Delhi Riots: Minorities Commission investigations reveal role of Delhi Police, politicians




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