Court Asks Delhi Police for Report on Kapil Mishra Speech That Triggered Riots in February 2020

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Kapil Mishra

The DCP will have to clarify its stand on whether it will register an FIR against Kapil Misra or not. If not, Harsh Mandar will press the court to order filing of an FIR

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A Delhi court has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (DCP) to file a report on the alleged provocative speech made by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra that is believed to have triggered February 2020 riots in the national capital. The order has been issued following an application by human rights activist Harsh Mander seeking registration of FIR against Mishra.

The Delhi Police has so far avoided filing a case against the BJP leader.

The order, passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate (Patiala House Courts, New Delhi) Himanshu Raman Singh on January 29, says the court “deems it appropriate to call the report from the DCP concerned”.

In his application invoking section 125 of representation of people’s Act, Mander has sought registration of FIR against Mishra under section 153 of the Indian Penal code.

The application accuses Mishra of making provocative statements on social media like twitter and giving hate speech against anti-CAA protestors. “On the evening of 23-02-2020 Kapil Mishra… not just addressed a rally but also declared that the crowd (his supporters) would resort to vigilante violence to clear the crowd (Anti-CAA protestors)” at Jafrabad in North East Delhi. After this speech “armed mobs rapidly spread across different parts of North East Delhi” unleashing communal violence for days claiming over 50 lives, majority of them Muslim, the application says.

Mander says that he filed the complaint against Mishra before the DCP South Delhi but “has not received any response from the police”.

The DCP has to file the report on the next date of hearing, that is, 9 March 2021. In this report the Delhi Police will have to clarify its stand on whether it will register an FIR against Kapil Misra or not. If not, Mandar will press the ourt to order filing of an FIR.

Mandar alleges “the lengths to which Delhi Police has gone, only to avoid filing FIR” against Mishra and other BJP leaders despite Delhi High Court order disclosing commission of offence and description of hate speech under sections 153 (a) and (b) should give the court a “cause for concern”.

The application states that Delhi Police has admitted and mentioned Mishra’s name and February 23 speech in the list of provocative speeches in its response to the high court.

It further alleges that Delhi Police has reinforced Mishra’s role in indulging in hate speech and unlawful assembly “without giving any substantial reason why they will not be registering cases against Mr Mishra”.

The “inaction of the police in the matter” has been given as a reason by Mander for filing the application.

The application says Mishra through his speeches violated Article 19 (a) and article 21 of the constitution by his “call for violence” against anti-CAA-NRC protests. The application cites series of court verdicts in explaining the grounds for the application.

Back ground

The controversial Citizenship Amendment Law (CAA) passed by the Modi government in December 2019 triggered a wave of peaceful protests across India. Muslim women took to streets and began indefinite sit-ins at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and various other places across the country asking the government to revoke the “discriminatory” law which, according to critics, went against the secular and democratic spirit of India’s constitution.

According to the law, migrants from neighbouring countries living in India will be granted citizenship. But it specifically excludes Muslims. Critics say that the law, if coupled with the potential nationwide citizenship test, will enable the disenfranchisement of Muslim citizens. They will be sent to detention centres if they fail to prove their citizenship in accordance with new norms.

Irked by the protests, senior leaders and ministers from the BJP, in their speeches, exhorted their supporters to shoot the protesters. “Goli maaro salon ko” became the war cry of the mobs supporting the ruling party. This eventually led to an outbreak of violence in parts of Delhi. The carnage that followed left behind a trail of death and destruction.

More than 50 people were killed, hundreds of houses set ablaze and many families displaced in three days of violence. The police were accused of siding with the rampaging mobs throughout the violence and arson.

The Police, however, detained anti-CAA activists under the controversial UAPA and charged them with conspiracy against Indian government.

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