Will Delhi Police now handle cases of Hindus arrested for communal riots differently?

Orders “due care and precaution” while arresting, senior officers asked “suitably” guide Investigating Officers (IOs)

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Image: PTI

There may be ‘growing resentment’ amongst many Hindus on the arrests of those of the same religion in connection with the communal riots in Northeast Delhi. And this sentiment has even the Delhi Police feeling concerned. So much so that according to a news report the police may soon be investigating those cases with ‘care’. 

The Indian Express has reported that the order to the probe teams comes from the office of Special Commissioner of Police (Crime & Economic Offences Wing) Praveer Ranjan. The signed order allegedly cites an “intelligence input” that the riot-related arrests of the Hindu men from Chand Bagh and Khajuri Khas areas has resulted in “resentment among the Hindu community”. The order states that “due care and precaution” must be taken while making arrests. The IE reports that the Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) has written in an order to senior officers heading probe teams and asked them to “suitably” guide the Investigating Officers.

It is important to note that this may be the first time such an ‘order’ to exercise utmost caution may have been issued. There were no such orders when scores of Muslims were arrested from across the residential areas of North East Delhi on a regular basis in alleged connections with the communal riots of February 2020. 

Indian Express report reveals that the order dated July 8, signed by Special CP (Crime & Economic Offences Wing) Praveer Ranjan, says that “community representatives are alleging that these arrests are made without any evidence and are even insinuating that such arrests are being made for some personal reasons.” 

The IE reports that the order even names two Muslim men and states, “In the same area, resentment among Hindu community is also reported for alleged police inaction” against the two, “who are alleged to have been involved in mobilising members of Muslim community during Delhi riots and anti-CAA protests”.

There are three Special Investigation Teams, probing riots cases. The officers probing the riots have now been advised that “Due care and precaution be taken while arresting any person. All evidences including direct and technical evidences be properly analysed and that all the arrests are backed by sufficient evidence be ensured. No arbitrary arrest should be made in any case and all evidences must be discussed with Special PPs (public prosecutors) assigned for each case,” the IE quotes the order, adding, “Supervisory officers ACPs/DCPs — SIT & Additional CP/Crime (Headquarters) may guide the IOs (investigating officers) suitably.”

It had been reported that 20 Hindus had been named in fresh Delhi riots charge sheets for killing two Muslim brothers, Hashim Ali and Amir Ali. According to The Print, Delhi Police Crime Branch Police had said the accused men formed a WhatsApp group where they spoke of ‘taking revenge from Muslims’. While one charge sheet named nine Hindus, the other named 11. In the murder case of Hashim, nine Hindus have been named, while in the murder of Amir, 11 accused have been named by police, reported The Print. The brothers were waylaid on their way home on February 25, allegedly stopped by a Hindu mob, then beaten,stabbed, and dumped in a drain.

Some of the accused were identified as Pankaj Sharma, Sumit Chaudhary, Ankit Chaudhary, Lokesh Kumar, Prince, Rishabh Choudhry, Jatin Sharma, Vivek Panchal, Himanshu Thakur — all residents of northeast Delhi.

The accused were allegedly a part of the ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’ WhatsApp group which literally means Extremist / Radical Hindu Unity. The group reportedly had as many as 125 members and was used to mobilize rioters and get them to coordinate. The IE reported that the police had planned to use these WhatsApp conversations as “extrajudicial confessions”.

The police had also said, “This ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’ group was created on 25.02.2020 at 12.49 hrs,” IE reported, adding that according to the police, “They (the accused) resolved to kill Muslims, whoever they came across. From February 25 afternoon to February 26 midnight, these murderers/accused persons, bludgeoned nine Muslim persons to death, whoever they come across or (if they) found someone, (and) injured several persons in Bhagirathi Vihar and other areas.”

The Wire had also reported that a video of Mishra’s speech was repeatedly posted on the Kattar Hindut Ekta WhatsApp group with the caption: “Kapil Mishra ki iss video ko sunein, samjhein, aur bahut mehnat karke poore Hindustan me bhejein kyun ki ye bahut sahi hai hundred percent desh hith me hai, itna toh kar hi sakte hain mere dost (Listen to Kapil Mishra on this video, understand it and make the effort to send it across India because it is in favour of the nation. Friends, you can do this much at least).” It was reported that eference to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh (RSS), had also surfaced in the group chats.


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