Usee ka shahr, wahee muddaee, wahee munsif Hamein yaqeen tha, hamaara qusoor niklega
(Narrated by an elderly Muslim gentleman to fact finding committee when asked about the situation after riots)
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Delhi police, who have been accused of partaking in the north east Delhi violence according to the testimonies given to the fact-finding committee, are doing a one-sided investigation in the said violence. It more so gives a clear picture of what has been the role of police, during and after the violence.
After the inflammatory speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra, north east Delhi saw a mostly targeted violence on the Muslim population. A fact-finding committee, established by the Delhi Minorities Commission on 9th March, finally submitted the report on 27th June. In their report, the commission did not fail to mention how the Delhi police did not cooperate with the committee in providing the required information. It has also been stressed in the report, how the police in many cases filed chargesheets against the Muslim accused first, to change the entire narrative and show it as violence on both sides when in fact what was carried out, was a pogrom.
Mr M R Shamshad, chairperson of the fact-finding committee, mentioned in the report, “This is a serious issue of changing public perception by attributing the riots to CAA protestors in general and Muslims in particular. This reflects injustice and partisan bias in the system which is neither good for a democratic system nor for our nation as whole.”
The Anti CAA protests that was started by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, was soon joined by the women of Shaheen Bagh. The women of Shaheen Bagh instantly became the face of the protest, that encouraged Muslim women from all over the country to organize a similar protest in their cities. Aside from women, activists and students of JMI & AMU also played a huge role in the protests. So, after the northeast Delhi violence, when it came to investigation, Delhi police one by one started arresting prominent faces of the anti CAA protests.
For the violence that took place in the northeast Delhi, police started arresting protesters from south east Delhi, while completely ignoring Kapil Mishra who was in the area of violence, giving an ultimatum to the police while standing beside a police official.
In the span of 3-4 months, where the rest of world was trying to find ways to fight the noval corona virus, Delhi police were on their own mission. Some of the significant faces of the anti CAA protests like Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Khalid Saifi, Shifa Ur Rahman, Dr. Kafeel Khan, Sharjeel Imaam, Akhil Gogoi and Sahrjeel Usmani, had been arrested by the police.
There have been numerous instances where experts have called out the unfair investigation by the police and also demanded the release of students and activists. On 28th May, a Delhi court dealing with the cases related to northeast Delhi riots, made a remark that the investigation into the communal violence in north East Delhi seems to be targeted only towards one end and asked the police to ensure fair investigation. It was also observed that the police have failed to point out what investigation has been carried out so far regarding the involvement of the rival faction.
On 26th June, a number of UN Human Rights experts called on India to immediately release the activists and students. “Authorities should immediately release all human rights defenders who are currently being held in pre-trial detention without sufficient evidence, often simply on the basis of speeches they made criticising the discriminatory nature of the CAA. The experts also highlighted their concern that the authorities’ response to the protests seemed discriminatory. It appears they have not similarly investigated allegations of incitement to hatred and violence made by CAA supporters, some of whom are reported to have chanted ‘shoot the traitors’ at counter-rallies”, stated the UNHR experts
Most of the protesters are being arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), yet another controversial law. The Act in question has faced a lot of criticism for its potential abuse by the authorities to silence any kind of opposition.