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14/09/2020 6:03 PM IST

PUCL Writes To Delhi Police Commissioner Over 'Bias' In Delhi Riots Investigation

The rights body said that it is concerned that the police is not investigating the role of BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra despite electronic evidence being available.

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Police patrolling a riot-hit area following violence in New Delhi on February 25, 2020.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties has written to Delhi Commissioner of Police SN Srivastava and expressed concern over news reports alleging bias in Delhi Police’s investigation in the North East Delhi riots. 

The group said that its concern is specifically in reference to FIR 59/2020. As HuffPost India’s Betwa Sharma reported in June, Arvind Kumar, a sub-Inspector of the Narcotics Cell of the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch, filed a complaint on March 6 that came to be known as First Information Report 59/2020. 

In the complaint, Kumar claimed to have received information that the riots were a conspiracy planned by former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid and his associates. 

FIR 59 has morphed into what appears to be a witch-hunt against students and activists who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the months preceding the Delhi riots, Sharma wrote. 

“The scrutiny of several other chargesheets that have already been filed in the riots cases, indicates that the Delhi Police is developing a theory of a wide-ranging and deep-rooted conspiracy to cause violence between communities in February 2020, allegedly to destabilise India and ruin its international image,” PUCL said in its letter. 

The human rights body also said that chargesheets like the latest supplementary chargesheet in FIR No. 50/2020, which names Sitaram Yechury and Jayati Ghosh among others, shows the “motivated investigation that the Delhi police have indulged in”. Scroll accessed the FIR, which was filed on February 26 and relates to the sit-in protest in Jaffrabad (read the entire report here).

“The interrogation of over 60 people under FIR 59/2020 shows a clear line of investigation — every activity which was part of the peaceful anti CAA protest is now being made suspect,” the letter said. 

PUCL urged the police commissioner to ensure a fair and just investigation into the violence. “The fact that the police is not investigating the role played by BJP leaders, like Kapil Mishra and others, in actually instigating and promoting the violence, despite so much electronic evidence of speeches, social media posts being available only deepens our concern.”

Violence erupted in Northeast Delhi a day after Mishra gave an ultimatum to the police to clear out anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters from Jaffrabad. He made the speech in the presence of Ved Prakash Surya, the DCP (Northeast) of Seelampur, but the Delhi Police is yet to question him.

The body also said that there’s no legal necessity to justify Khalid’s arrest and the incident only underscores its concern about the “Delhi police engaging in arbitrary arrest and conducting a partial, biased and politically motivated investigation.” He was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on Sunday. 

Separately, writer Arundhati Roy, musician T.M. Krishna, journalist P. Sainath and others signed a letter on Monday demanding Khalid’s release. 

“The repeated attempts by the Delhi police to implicate him in a number of fictitious cases of conspiracy for the Delhi violence are part of a brazen attempt to try to suppress his voice of dissent,” said the letter.