Activists fear cases have been registered mostly against Muslims and they are mostly the detained ones.
NEW DELHI – While victims of Jafferabad’s anti-Muslim violence are fearful and displaced, locals say the police are picking up the community members in large numbers for framing them in the cases relating to last month’s violence.
The Delhi Police have registered 690 cases and detained or arrested 2,193 people in this drive so far. Police are not revealing the identity of the arrested and the details of the cases. Activists fear cases have been registered mostly against Muslims and they are mostly the detained ones.
In the four-day mob violence, over 54 people have been killed and hundreds injured. The victims are mainly Muslim. Around 23 mosques have been burnt and vandalised.
Talking to the media, locals alleged that arrests of Muslims are done in large numbers. A resident of Mustafabad Mirza Muzaffar Ali was quoted by The Hindu as saying he never witnessed such large-scale arrests.
“In my 66 years, I have never seen an atmosphere like this. There is a lot of police deployment in the area, because of what happened and also because of Holi. People, especially young boys, are being picked up. Residents like us are used to things like that around festival time but this time it is happening on a much larger scale. in all my life I haven’t seen or felt such fear– not even after the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992,” Ali said.
Another resident Sultan Mirza said the police are picking up boys after asking their name. “Bas naam poochte hain aur utha lete hain…Har gali se 4 se 5 ladke utha rakhe hain [They just ask your name and pick you up. Four to five boys have been picked up from each bylane],” said Mirza.
Yet another resident, Ali Mehdi, said the police would come at any time of the day or night and pick up people. “A significant number of those detained for the riots are from here,” said Mehdi.
A resident of Moonga Nagar, Rahan Ali, said his three family members including the father and brother were arrested. Cops came in plainclothes in the evening on March 7. A resident of Babarpur’s Kabir Nagar Mustaqim said every day, two or more people are being picked up from his area. His brother Mohammed Shamim was among them, having been booked in violence-related cases.
The police employed tactics like picking up one male member of a family to coerce another member to present themselves before the police. Denial of legal access as also access to family members over extended periods is a common feature in all the testimonies.