Citizens Committee Report: Investigation of 2020 Riots Cases by Delhi Police Flawed

gavel Law Insider

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: October 11, 2022 at 20:57 IST

The Delhi Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Delhi Government have all been cited as “State failures” in a report on the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots by a “Citizens Committee” headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Madan B Lokur.

The “committee” also included Justice Lokur, the former Chief Justice of the Madras and Delhi High Courts, A P Shah, a former judge of the Patna High Court, Anjana Prakash, and the former Home Secretary, G K Pillai.

The committee used information from the report, including FIRs, chargesheets, court rulings, and media reports.

“The Delhi Police failed to take severe measures against hate remarks made by political leaders and others in the lead-up to February 23 or on the day itself,” claims the report titled “Uncertain Justice.”

It reads, “The response of the Government of India, specifically the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), was completely inadequate. Although the MHA was in charge of both the Delhi Police and the central paramilitary forces, it did little to stop the rise of sectarian violence.”

“On February 24 and 25, government authorities and senior police officers repeatedly assured the public that the situation was under control, yet there was still evidence of violence.”

According to the report, the Delhi government did “very little” to mediate between the communities during this time, despite the clear warning signs prior to February 23.

“The Committee feels that it did not fully exercise its responsibility as civic mediator and statesman to calm the tension,” it continued.

The Delhi Government has also fallen short of providing people harmed by violence with prompt, effective relief and compensation. There are numerous delays in the government’s and the Claims Commission’s approval of compensation, the report includes.

According to media reports, the procedure of requesting compensation was challenging and made worse by delays.

The committee has stated that the inquiry into the violence “appears unbalanced” since it does not look at the linkages between the breakout of the violence and the hate speeches.

According to the study, “it, incongruously, charges anti-CAA demonstrators to a UAPA prosecution for allegedly engaging in violence that ultimately targeted Muslims.”

In order to conduct an “impartial inquiry” into the violence, the report calls for the creation of a Commission of Inquiry.

Yati Narsinghanand’s speeches from February 2020 that were “circulated through YouTube” and his YouTube following in the months prior to the violence are mentioned in the report regarding the usage of social media.

His posts “amplify the Hindu-Muslim polarity being disseminated by many at the time,” the investigation claims.

The crucial period of February 23, 2020, through February 24, saw a frenetic and widespread usage of social media.

The dividing Hindu-Muslim themes are further revealed in Facebook Live videos broadcast over the past two days by political figures associated with the BJP and Hindu right-wing extremist organisations, the report said.

Many of the videos contained hate speech and violent material.

A top police officer branded the charges “fake” and stated, “We are currently investigating the cases and the situation is sub-judice,” despite Delhi Police spokespersons declining to comment on the report.

The study received no response from the Delhi government.

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