Explained: Delhi riots investigation, an anti-muslim probe?

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Of the 53 people killed from February 23 to February 26 in the violence, 38 were Muslim.

Ayushman Ojha, Ground Report:

Delhi Police on Tuesday filed three chargesheets before a local court in connection with February Delhi riots over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Earlier to this, recently on June 7 the special investigation unit of Delhi Police charge-sheeted six people. More than 1300 arrests has been made over the last two months when Delhi struggled to deal with the lockdown to combat Covid-19.

On accusations made by activists for biased investigation (anti-Muslim bias) in this case, a police spokesperson said that more than 1,300 accused had been arrested in over 750 cases related to the violence, with the number of those arrested from the two communities “almost identical to each other”. A Delhi court has remarked that investigation into a case related to the communal violence in north-east Delhi seemed to be “targeted only towards one end”, while asking the Delhi Police to ensure fair investigation. Statements and facts like these make suspects of bias by Delhi Police very concrete.

It is evident that Delhi is struggling to tackle coronavirus but still there’s no halt in detaining the accused ones in NE Delhi riot cases. Action by police in the midst of the pandemic have prompted allegations that the authorities have taken advantage of the lack of scrutiny during the lockdown as well as the limited access to the courts to move forward with flawed investigations

The Delhi Police is denying any accusation of anti-muslim bias by stating the numbers of arrests from both communities (Hindu and Muslim). But the fact is that of the 53 people killed from February 23 to February 26 in the violence, 38 were Muslim. This shows the sinister face of the investigation where Muslims are arrested in large numbers even the ones which are victims of the violence are barely spared.

The police also appears to be indiscriminately arresting political and student activists, mainly young Muslim women, notably of JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia, who were active in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) since December 2019. Activists(like Harsh Mandar) have accused the police of a communal bias against Muslims.

There appears to be a basis for this charge, given the way the police have gone about arresting Muslim youth activists for their involvement in anti-CAA protests, which began a good two months before the riot. At the same time, the police have not acted against Hindu political leaders of the ruling party who openly incited mobs.

“The deliberate targeting of students and members of the Muslim communities in the name of prosecuting those who engaged in the violence”, as brought out in a statement by 567 activists, organisations and prominent citizens brings out altogether a different picture, a contrasting one from which the police wants the public to believe.

Apart from recklessly invoking the charge of sedition under Sec 124A, police have been witnessed using slangs and taunts for Muslims comunally-colored language. Addressing an election rally in Jharkhand in the run-up to the 2019 assembly election, PM Modi said that those setting fire to public property during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act/National Register of Citizens protests could be identified by their clothes.

The Delhi Police comes under PM’s Home Ministry and it is quite obvious the Police is working on the footsteps of the notion which can be interpreted from the above statement. In a case of vandalism where a man named Ahmad was detained, the police took his 17 years old son in custody when Ahmad was nit found at home and released him when they got their hands on Ahmad. He, next afternoon, when Fatima took food for her husband, she alleged police officials greeted her with taunts:Mil gayi azaadi? Le li azaadi? Aur kitni azaadi logi ab?” (Have you got the freedom you wanted? What more freedom do you want?). The Police which is expected and assigned to safeguard the citizens without any partiality on any basis has always shown bias whether it is a case of Dalit, Muslims, minorities, women etc-. It is one of the gravest problems of our nation.

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