The latest case was of Mohammed Zubair, fact-checking website Alt-News' co-founder, who was arrested for a controversial post on Twitter that he had posted around 4 years ago.
NEW DELHI — “Why is no criminal afraid of Delhi Police these days? This is because criminals are well aware that the Delhi Police is busy doing the BJPs bidding in protecting the hooligans and criminals that the BJP is harbouring,” Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi had said on May 9 in a press briefing.
But what prompted her to make such critical remarks about a law enforcement agency?
The issue was about BJP leader Tajinderpal Singh Bagga being arrested by the police of AAP-ruled Punjab from his residence in Delhi. When he was being taken to Punjab by road, the Delhi Police swung into action and stopped the Punjab Police’s cavalcade midway in Haryana, a BJP-ruled state.
Both the parties — the AAP and the BJP — levelled allegations against each other of misusing the police in their respective states to settle political scores.
It was not the first time that the saffron clan faced a backlash from an Opposition party.
The police in the national capital has been accused by the Opposition members umpteen number of times of muzzling their and every other voice that tries to corner the present dispensation in one or the other way.
The latest case was of Mohammed Zubair, fact-checking website Alt-News’ co-founder, who was arrested for a controversial post on Twitter that he had posted around 4 years ago.
It was Zubair who first shared the now suspended BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma’s alleged controversial remarks that prompted several Islamic nations to condemn them.
The Opposition accuses the Centre and the Delhi Police of curbing free speech and targeting those who are exposing the BJP. “Every person exposing BJP’s hate, bigotry and lies is a threat to them. Arresting one voice of truth will only give rise to a thousand more. Truth ALWAYS triumphs over tyranny,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said soon after the news of the fact-checker’s arrest broke.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that Alt-News and Zubair have been in the forefront of exposing the “bogus claims of the “Vishguru”, who has struck back with a vengeance characteristic of him. “Delhi Police, reporting to the Union Home Minister, has long lost any pretensions of professionalism and independence,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO, Special Cell) KPS Malhotra while speaking to IANS denounced claims of Zubair’s arrest being politically motivated. “It is not right to call this case politically motivated. He had been evasive during the questioning which basically formed the grounds of his arrest,” he said.
Just before the Zubair issue, the Delhi Police was accused by the Congress of using excessive force against its party workers during the protests over the Agnipath scheme of military recruitment and the interrogation of its former president Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case.
Rahul was quizzed for more than 50 hours spread over five days and during that period the Congress party vociferously protested on the streets of the national capital. Every day hundreds of Congress party workers, including parliamentarians and legislators, were detained by the police.
On June 15, the Congress party filed a complaint at a local police station against Delhi police personnel for forcibly entering the premises of the party headquarters at 24, Akbar Road and baton-charging the workers.
Infuriated over the development, the party’s top spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said “Goondaism in Delhi Police” has reached its zenith.
“We were protesting in a democratic way but this goondaism will not be tolerated. It will be accounted for. Let all the police officers who are acting as puppets of the Modi government in order to please their masters know this will not go unpunished, we will remember and suitable action both civil and criminal will be taken,” he had said then in a special media briefing soon after the incident.
Responding to these allegations, the Delhi Police came down heavily on the grand old party for allegedly creating public disturbances in the national capital. “Despite the suggestions of Delhi police to have the protest at Jantar Mantar, the INC leaders with utter disregard of Supreme Court guidelines and our suggestions have again and again tried to create public disturbances in the area,” Delhi Police spokesperson Suman Nalwa had said then.
While the police has shown extreme promptness in preventing the Congress party workers from creating any ruckus in the city, its approach at another hotbed of Left Vs Right politics — Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) — has been at times questioned by the left leaning parties.
On April 10, this year, the University once again bore witness to bloodshed between the warring camps. As many as 16 students were injured during a fight that allegedly started over consumption of non vegetarian food on the occasion of Ram Navami.
Minor scuffles do take place in universities but April 10’s incident was not the first time that the student-turned-miscreants became thirsty for each other’s blood in the campus.
In January 2020, masked men and women carrying sticks and rods had barged into the hostels of the University, attacking students and teachers. The property on the campus was damaged. Nearly 30 students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh were injured during the brawl.
The scale of violence was so much that the administration called the police which had to conduct a flag march inside the campus. Several left leaning political parties blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for allegedly creating mayhem, however, till now nothing has been proved.
The case is still under investigation even after more than two years.
However, despite all the accusations, as per the latest crime data, Delhi has the best conviction rate of IPC crimes (85 per cent) compared to the all-India average of 59%. In rape cases, Delhi’s conviction rate is 21 per cent better than the all-India average. Probably a reflection of the professional nature of policing undertaken in the city! — IANS