Northeast Delhi violence: Police biased, didn't stop riots, says Delhi Minority Panel

The panel, headed by Supreme Court advocate MR Shamshad, said the violence was specifically targeted at Muslim women in the eight riot-affected areas of North East Delhi, as they had taken the lead in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment...

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NEW DELHI: A fact-finding committee appointed by the Delhi Minority Commission on the February Delhi riots has held the Delhi Police “complicit” in the violence, accusing it of inaction during the peak of the violence and carrying out a biased investigation.

In a report, the committee also indicted the Delhi government for allegedly failing to rehabilitate victims properly even four months after the violence. The report was submitted to the Delhi government last week.

The panel, headed by Supreme Court advocate MR Shamshad, said the violence was specifically targeted at Muslim women in the eight riot-affected areas of North East Delhi, as they had taken the lead in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Many of them have lost social and economic security after the riots, it said.

The committee was constituted by the Delhi Minorities Commission in March to investigate the riots that claimed 53 lives and left more than 400 injured.

Except for the death and injury cases, the government’s disbursal of compensation appears "delayed and disproportionate" to the claims, the report said. "In several instances, the verification process of damage/loot/arson has not been completed even after a period of four months after the violence. Where verification has been done, either no interim compensation has been paid or only meagre amounts have been paid as ‘interim compensation’," it said.

The panel has asked for the constitution of a five-member independent committee to address the issues faced by the victims — such as non-registration of FIRs, recording of victim statements and charge sheets that "have left out many facts" — and ensure expedition of compensation proportionate to the damage.

Citing what it called a pattern of deliberate inaction by the Delhi Police for several days, the report said: "In multiple testimonies, victims of violence have reported that FIRs have either been delayed or have not been acted upon. In some cases, victims themselves have been arrested. In some instances, victims have said that they are being asked to ‘compromise’ with the accused persons named by them in their complaints.”

Muslim complainants are reluctant to visit police stations to pursue their complaints due to fear of being falsely implicated in cases, it claimed, adding: “Submission of charge sheets without proper investigation into complaints with named accused further creates doubts about the impartiality and objectivity of the investigation."

The report stated that while no Hindu temple was torched during the violence, 22 Muslim places of worship, apart from some graveyards and madrasas were attacked and destroyed.

"Many Muslims who took shelter in relief camps were displaced twice when they were, hastily and without any plan, evacuated from the camps in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown,” the report said.

The minorities commission has sought details on various complaints, including the non-filing of FIRs. The police have replied to a few of these. It can also summon the Delhi Police, if required.

The fact-finding committee had sent a two-page questionnaire to the Delhi Police on June 11, but had not received any response.


Alleging that perpetrators had positioned themselves strategically in the residential areas and that there was no “spontaneity” as in the case of a riot, the report claimed that in some instances, victims were asked to show their ID cards and then targeted on the basis of their faith.

"In response to the targeted attacks, Muslim youth pelted stones on the mobs in some places to defend community and family members. Barring one incident, there have not been reports of Muslims being armed with weapons other than stones," according to the report.

The Delhi Police have blamed the anti-CAA protests for triggering the riots. In an affidavit, it recently stated that 750 FIRs and 200 charge sheets have been filed, and 1,430 people arrested as of July 11. The flash point, according to the police, was a blockade of the Jafrabad Metro station on February 22, which it alleged was a response to a call for a nationwide bandh by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad.

The committee observed also that there was a serious disparity in the determination of compensation in cases of deaths of public servants and ordinary citizens who lost their lives in the violence. "Deaths of public servants are being compensated with significantly larger amounts, for which there is no legal basis," the report said.

Other than Shamshad, the members of the panel were Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member Gurminder Singh Matharu, social activist Tanveer Kazi, human rights activists Abu Bakr Sabbaq and Aditi Datta, Jamia Millia Islamia professor Haseena Hashia and human rights lawyer Tehmina Arora.

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