Alarmed at the direction, and the speed of the probe into the Delhi riots, where scores of summons, questionings, and arrests under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and other charges, have been set into motion, senior political leaders of national Opposition parties met President Ram Nath Kovind, on Thursday. The leaders handed a memorandum to the president and have put on record their demand for a judicial probe by sitting or retired judge, into the investigations that are now underway, probing Delhi communal riots of February 2020.
The three page memorandum has been signed by Congress’ Ahmed Patel, CPI’s D Raja, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, DMK’s Kanimozhi and RJD’s Manoj Jha. “There are, however, serious questions about the role played by the Delhi Police itself, during the violence, and also the manner in which police is harassing and attempting to falsely implicate activists and young people who took part in the anti-CAA/NRC/NPR movements, as perpetrators of violence,” stated the memorandum.
It apprised the President that there were several “publicly documented accounts and videos of police being complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence”. It stated that the ongoing Delhi Police probe does not inspire confidence, and serious questions are being raised on its “impartiality”.
The leaders urged the President to call upon the Government of India to institute an enquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by a sitting/retired judge(s).
The memorandum may be read here:
This is the highest Constitutional office that political leaders have now approached. Eminent citizens have been voicing concerns over the probe on a regular basis now. For the second time in a week veteran policeman Julio Ribeiro wrote to the Delhi Police commissioner to act according to the law and direct his force to investigate the North-East Delhi Riots fairly. He reminded the commissioner about the “The not-so-subtle attempt by the Delhi Police to entangle true patriots, like Harsh Mander and Prof. Apoorvanand, in criminal cases is another matter for concern,” before reminding the police chief of his duties. After the Delhi Police commissioner wrote back stating that “No discrimination in riots probe”, Ribeiro alerted him to the facts once again on Wednesday.
On the same day, eminent activists, professors, journalists and academics made a public statement of solidarity and also demanded that a commission of enquiry be set up, to scrutinise the Delhi Police’s investigations into the February 2020 North East Delhi communal violence. The senior activists once again raised their collective voices, to express their anguish at the “sheer brazenness with which the Delhi Police have turned the investigation into the February violence in Delhi into an inquisition of the anti-CAA protests.” The speakers included Kavita Krishnan (Politburo member, CPIML), Syeda Hameed (Writer and former member, Planning Commission of India), Prashant Bhushan (Senior Advocate and activist), Pamela Philipose (Senior Journalist) and Nandita Narain (former President, DUTA). The statement they issued was also signed by activist Kanhaiyya Kumar, who was a fellow scholar and activist with Umar Khalid at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
While the police were seen even throwing stones during the riots in multiple videos, no action has been taken against them, said Prashant Bhushan. He has called this ‘investigation, “a criminal conspiracy” on the part of Delhi Police. The activists stated that the Delhi Police seems to be adding to the list of anti-CAA protestors languishing behind bars. The alleged involvement of the Delhi Police is not new said activists, “even in February we were aghast at the role of the police, who were not just partisan but inhuman as they stopped ambulances from entering affected areas; until concerned citizens were forced to knock on the doors of the High court at midnight to remind the police of their duty.”
Kavita Krishnan, Politburo member, CPIML, spoke passionately asking Delhi Police if they wanted history to remember them as a “private army” of the powers that be.