Zafar Afaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI—Delhi Police actively participated in the communal violence by guiding the Hindu rightwing mobs towards the victims and helping the mobs in assault, murder, arson and destruction of places of worship during the anti-Muslim violence in parts of north-east Delhi in February last week, stated a new fact-finding report released by Youth for Human Rights.
The 110-page report prepared after a survey and interviews with the victims and witnesses in the affected areas established the biased role of Delhi Police against Muslims. It points to the disturbing pattern of policing during the violence and says the cops failed to note that perpetrators of any kind of offensive cannot be or appear to be on the same side as the police, as this would severely affect their credibility and authority.
“A person from the Muslim community told the fact-finding team that this is a common tactic employed by the police to stand in front of mobs pelting stones at the Muslim community,” the report says.
The fact-finding team was also told by several victims that, on 24 February 2020, when people from the Muslim community were coming back from the Ijtema (an Islamic congregation), they were stopped by cops and advised to take the shortcut road to Mustafabad that goes through Brijpuri Puliya (bridge), for their protection. When people reached the Brijpuri Puliya, a Hindu rightwing mob was waiting to attack them; some 6-7 people were killed here, and thrown into the drain under the bridge.
Women from Shiv Vihar, a locality where numerous houses were torched, narrated how they pleaded with folded hands in front of the cops to intervene and save the locality but the police did not pay any heed to their requests.
TRAPPED TO KILL
“Instead, cops were guiding and abetting the mobs busy with acts of violence. Some residents also told the fact-finding team that they went back to Shiv Vihar to collect their belongings on an assurance from the police that the violence has stopped. However, they later realised that it was a trap set up for them as they were brutally attacked by the mob.”
ATTACK ON IMAM
The report mentions how police aided the goons to commit violence against Mufti Mohammad Tahir, the Imam of Farooqui mosque, near Mustafabad. “The Imam told the media how he had locked himself in an upper room of the mosque when the violence broke out. But police broke down the door, dragged him out and handed him to the waiting Hindu mobs, who beat him unconscious, smashing his limbs,” the report reads.
It also highlighted the case of 23-year-old Mohd Faizan who was killed in police custody after he was severely beaten up on a road.
According to an article published in HuffPost India, Faizan was filmed as he was brutally assaulted by policemen, who also forced him to sing the national anthem between the beatings. He died after the cops illegally detained him for over 36 hours and denied him any medical attention.The report accuses the police of “passing the buck” in this case; and the family had to move court on February 28.
“In an order on February 29, the chief metropolitan magistrate court at Karkardooma directed the Bhajanpura police station to assist in the post mortem with video filming. Investigating officer Malti Bana said the post-mortem report would be given to the family in two weeks.”
The report says: “The members of the fact-finding team met another victim of police brutality, aged 72, who showed black and blue injury marks on his back, legs and arms. He had been brutally assaulted with lathis and batons by five officers of the Delhi Police (probably from Gokulpuri Police Station) near the Brijpuri Puliya in Mustafabad. He was returning home on his motorcycle after being stuck in Kabir Nagar for two days due to the violence. The police officers threw his motorcycle on the roadside and were discussing among themselves what they would do with him — shoot him, put his bike on fire and throw his body and motorcycle in the drain that flows under the bridge.
The police allegedly taunted him by saying,“Let’s give him azadi.” He was then saved by officers from the Rapid Action Force stationed nearby.
FEAR IN THE AIR
“There is immense fear in the hearts of the survivors and even the entire community at large. Even though the area is moving towards normality in terms of people returning to work and the shops reopening, the situation is far from the usual,” the fact- finding team found during their groundwork for the report
PROBE IT ALL
The report appeals that the violence should be investigated by a team comprising retired judges, doctors, forensic experts, psychologists, credible human rights organisations etc along with members of Delhi Minority Commission, National Human Rights Commission, and Women Commission.
“The SIT formed by the Delhi Police should not be the body investigating the violence since an unbiased assessment of its own role cannot be made by the Delhi Police,” The report urges.