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Four accused in Coimbatore unrest charged under NSA

The police acted fast after initially booking only the suspects belonging to Muslim community under UAPA

20 Mar 2020

coimbatore

Soon after a Hindu Munnai worker was attacked in Coimbatore, two mosques were attacked by hurling bottles filled with petrol on March 5. Madukkarai Anand, District Secretary of Hindu Munnani, was attacked by some unidentified people, who came on bikes, while he was returning home after participating in a pro-CAA 'dharna' in Coimbatore. Hindu Munnani quickly termed the attack on its worker as an organised one incited by DMK, Congress and left parties.

After protests and petitions by the representatives of the Muslim community, by March 13, the city police had made 127 preventive arrests in view of maintaining order in the city.

In this backdrop, came differentiated action from the city police. In two separate acts of violence, one on a Hindu outfit and other on a Muslim place of worship, the police charged the suspects in what can be said, an allegedly discriminatory manner. Initially, on March 19, it was reported that while the sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)  were invoked against the Muslims arrested for attack on Hindu outfit functionaries, the same wasn’t done in case of the Hindus suspected of hurling petrol bombs at the mosques. They were only charged under some sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Members of district All Jamaat and Muslim organisation had raised a concern on this and asked the police to treat both incidents on the same footing and not go lenient on any suspect basis their religion.

Today, the city police has appeared to correct this anomaly and booked all four accused under the national Security Act. Reportedly, A Azharuddin (30) from Karumbukadai and S Noor Mohammad (30) from Saramedu were arrested for their alleged involvement in the assault on a Hindu Munnani district secretary M Anand on March 4 near Nanjundapuram in the city. 

On the other hand, K Pandi alias Sadaiyandi (41), a member of BJP from Periyasamy and V Akil (23), a member of VHP were arrested for hurling petrol bomb on a mosque at Vedhambal Nagar on March 5.
 

Related:

Haji Ali, Mahim Dargah close for devotees amid Covid-19 pandemic

Madras HC paves way for police permission for anti-CAA protest when Covid-19 ban is lifted

Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi

 

Four accused in Coimbatore unrest charged under NSA

The police acted fast after initially booking only the suspects belonging to Muslim community under UAPA

coimbatore

Soon after a Hindu Munnai worker was attacked in Coimbatore, two mosques were attacked by hurling bottles filled with petrol on March 5. Madukkarai Anand, District Secretary of Hindu Munnani, was attacked by some unidentified people, who came on bikes, while he was returning home after participating in a pro-CAA 'dharna' in Coimbatore. Hindu Munnani quickly termed the attack on its worker as an organised one incited by DMK, Congress and left parties.

After protests and petitions by the representatives of the Muslim community, by March 13, the city police had made 127 preventive arrests in view of maintaining order in the city.

In this backdrop, came differentiated action from the city police. In two separate acts of violence, one on a Hindu outfit and other on a Muslim place of worship, the police charged the suspects in what can be said, an allegedly discriminatory manner. Initially, on March 19, it was reported that while the sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)  were invoked against the Muslims arrested for attack on Hindu outfit functionaries, the same wasn’t done in case of the Hindus suspected of hurling petrol bombs at the mosques. They were only charged under some sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Members of district All Jamaat and Muslim organisation had raised a concern on this and asked the police to treat both incidents on the same footing and not go lenient on any suspect basis their religion.

Today, the city police has appeared to correct this anomaly and booked all four accused under the national Security Act. Reportedly, A Azharuddin (30) from Karumbukadai and S Noor Mohammad (30) from Saramedu were arrested for their alleged involvement in the assault on a Hindu Munnani district secretary M Anand on March 4 near Nanjundapuram in the city. 

On the other hand, K Pandi alias Sadaiyandi (41), a member of BJP from Periyasamy and V Akil (23), a member of VHP were arrested for hurling petrol bomb on a mosque at Vedhambal Nagar on March 5.
 

Related:

Haji Ali, Mahim Dargah close for devotees amid Covid-19 pandemic

Madras HC paves way for police permission for anti-CAA protest when Covid-19 ban is lifted

Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi

 

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Is the Delhi Pogrom 2020 really over?

Nearly a month later, the survivors are still traumatised from the loss of life, livelihood, homes, and have little hope from the authorities

17 Mar 2020

Delhi violence

“We were preparing for my sister’s wedding. We had bought her gold jewellery, bridal trousseau, and lots of gifts for her. All of that, including the Rs two lakh cash we had saved up to buy some household items for her are all gone,” Sahdaab’s voice cracks as he recalls what he calls the biggest setback for his family, “she is my only sister, and we had been planning her wedding with so much joy, no expense was too much for her.”

He also lost stock worth Rs 10 lakh that is the core of his ‘flight packing material’ business, but it is the loss of his, and his sister’s dreams that he says cannot be calculated in monetary terms. 

Sahdaab’s story is still one of the better ones.  He says he is lucky and very grateful to god that his family is alive, but coming back to what they knew as a ‘normal’ life is too far away to think of. “But I will make sure she will still get married as planned after meethi Eid, but it will no longer be the grand wedding we planned, but I will do the best I can Inshallah.”

The riots that began on the night of February 23 onwards, in the densely populated, primalrily Muslim areas of North East Delhi were planned well in advance, had trained hitmen armed with weapons and  were most likely helped by local goons who pointed out Muslim owned business, shops, and homes to be targetted, say survivors. 

Of course the plan unfolded with hate speeches by politicians, intimidation, and verbal attacks, even as the police looked on as if it was the norm, say residents. The riots spread like wildfire over the next few days and consumed lives, homes, and livelihoods, mostly of Muslim families, as well as a few Hindu families. A month after the embers have supposedly died down, the residents from across the affected region came together and shared stories of loss, government apathy, and continuing trauma at a ‘People’s Tribunal on Delhi Carnage’, organised by Anhad in collaboration with Alliance Defending Freedom, Aman Biradari, Amnesty International India, United Christian Forum and Muslim Women's Forum. 

Over 30 riot-victims,  and some civil society activists testified and shared facts with the tribunal jury: Justice Aftab Alam, Prof. Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander, Pamela Philipose, Dr Syeda Hameed and Prof. Tanika Sarkar. They heard story after story that showed how  North-East Delhi riots too were a Pogrom targeting minorities, similar to the Anti Sikh riots that burned the city in 1984.

Delhi violence
People's Tribunal on Delhi Carnage, Anatomy, Arson, Relief & Road Ahead
 

In February 2020 too, the violence seemed to have been planned, the rioters were armed with weapons that could break open doors and ransack interiors, including metal tipped wood, iron rods, petrol bombs, burning tyres, gas cylinders ready to be set off as bombs. The items looted were carried off in vehicles brought in for the purpose, before the shops were set ablaze. Masjids were attacked to drive home the point that minorities were not seen as equal citizens. “There is nothing to loot in a Masjid. It is just a hall. Copies of our holy book the Quran Sharif were burned. What message does that send?” asked a resident, an affluent businessman who lost crores in stock and property, but considers this as the biggest attack, “I will never trust the police again in my life.” 

Survivors were united in the opinion that the Delhi Police did not do its duty and alleged that some policemen were “complicit with the mobs, attacked Muslims, and threw tear gas shells at unarmed residents”. The Police they say watched, or walked away as the mobs rampaged the area and attacked the residents. “Police could have stopped the violence one day one. None of this would have happened,” said a resident, “the rioters had police protection, and had all kinds of weapons in their hands.”

Even the Fire Brigade, and Ambulance services did not respond to distress calls say residents of North East delhi. “We called 112 many times but they said we can't reach, the roads are blocked. We called the policemen we personally knew many times, but their phones were busy and they never returned the calls. Some policemen told us not to come to our shops as mobs were gathering, and some even said we should leave the area and save our lives.” 

“The police did not respond to distress calls, those who were stationed near the shops also left when the mobs grew. The policeman said, ‘the mobs are huge, and we do not have enough forces’ imagine that,” said a resident who says he has lost faith in Delhi Police and will no longer trust them to maintain the law and order to bring peace and normalcy back in riot-affected areas. “As long as I am alive I will never trust Delhi Police. I will never forget.” 

Residents do not know who they can depend on now and have notheir but their personal faith, “we trust allah. Only he can help us.”

“There was organized loot that took place and targeted mostly Muslim shops. They were ransacked methodically and then burnt to the ground using petrol bombs and burning tyres. In areas where Muslim owned shops and Hindu owned shops were set up side by side, the mob only harmed the ones owned by Muslims.”

Many survivors are convinced that the rioters may have been brought from outside Delhi but it was the locals who guided them to our shops and homes, only a local would know the area, markets and by lanes so well. “My shop did not even have a signboard. It was locals who pointed it out to rioters,” said Moinuddin.

The residents say their trauma has increased when they realised the police, or any other government authority would not do anything to help them. A fact that was driven home in the days after the initial violence subsided. Even now, almost a month after the riots damages and loss of property have been underreported. “The police have combined unrelated FIRs, and some people have not been able to file FIR of Medico-Legal Cases (MLCs) at all,” said a resident. Without this most people have missed out on compensation and have little hope of seeing culprits behind bars. 

So far Delhi Police have confirmed 53 deaths, including a policeman and an intelligence officer, more than 200 people injured and 200 homes, shops, schools, vehicles and religious places burnt down. Many residents, mostly young men, are still missing, however, bodies are still being pulled out of the sewage canals.

There was migrant labour in the area as well, and none of them have been accounted for, say residents. Most damages were  under-reported by the Home Minister Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha on 11th March 2020, the tribunal noted.

Another fact brought up by the survivors was that medical help arrived too late due to police barricades, but when the victims were taken to hospitals in private vehicles by friends and family, they were not given dignified treatment. A few hospitals like Al Hind and GTB treated the victims, but there are reports of various private hospitals where the victims were refused help, a few even alleged that the doctors also taunted the Muslim victims.

Only after Justice VS. Justice Murlidhar led the midnight hearing at Delhi High Court on February 26 and ordered for the Police to act as per their duties, did they act. Too little, too late, say residents.

“Still Delhi Police did not register FIRs against BJP leader, Kapil Mishra who’s words most of the survivors and victims said ignited the riots. He said fire to Delhi,” said a resident adding that no action was taken against  BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma either, for their hate speeches.

The trauma and the shock is yet to wear off as mistrust and fear are high in these areas, even weeks after the riots. The recovery process for many is as bad as the riot itself. Even those who were once well off, and owned multiple properties, or ran big showrooms are helpless. Almost none of them had insurance, and the loss of material and stock has crippled them. The worst affected are those who ran business, small workshops from rented properties. Even the properties which were not damaged are not accessible to them anymore, “Our landlords are Hindu. They have evicted us and told us they won’t rent to Muslims.  If this isn't a financial and economic boycott, then what is it?” 

Some residents who lost all their official papers when their property was burned down do not know how they can get any compensation at all. “I have yet to receive any compensation but some of my institutions were on rented properties,” a Hindu resident said.

The jury pointed out that while members of both communities have lost property, life and faced damages to their homes, “statistically the rate of damages to Muslim households and businesses and lives was much larger.”

Testimonies from both communities showed that they had been living in harmony and had no communal tensions, however, locals said the eruption of violence has been backed by years of preparation and hate conditioning. Hate spewing politicians, and biased television news channels have gone unchecked. The jury noted that the “psycho-social damage that has happened for the communities, especially the women and the children of the Muslim communities cannot be measured.”

Most survivors said the riots may be officially over but they are still traumatised economically, emotionally and physically, by the riots and even though they lived to tell the stories they continue to be haunted by the sounds, sights and smells of the hate and violence they were subjected to. 

“For two days we faced stone pelting, firing, and barely managed to escape with our kids,” Rukhsana still has a blank look in her eyes, and is scared that her husband, a scrap dealer, may not be able to find any work. The charity, and help from others will soon run out, and survival will be a challenge for the family. Her fear is palpable.

(Some names, locations changed/ hidden to protect survivors) 


Related:

Delhi violence: Concerned citizens write to Delhi govt asking for enhanced compensation
Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  
Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

Is the Delhi Pogrom 2020 really over?

Nearly a month later, the survivors are still traumatised from the loss of life, livelihood, homes, and have little hope from the authorities

Delhi violence

“We were preparing for my sister’s wedding. We had bought her gold jewellery, bridal trousseau, and lots of gifts for her. All of that, including the Rs two lakh cash we had saved up to buy some household items for her are all gone,” Sahdaab’s voice cracks as he recalls what he calls the biggest setback for his family, “she is my only sister, and we had been planning her wedding with so much joy, no expense was too much for her.”

He also lost stock worth Rs 10 lakh that is the core of his ‘flight packing material’ business, but it is the loss of his, and his sister’s dreams that he says cannot be calculated in monetary terms. 

Sahdaab’s story is still one of the better ones.  He says he is lucky and very grateful to god that his family is alive, but coming back to what they knew as a ‘normal’ life is too far away to think of. “But I will make sure she will still get married as planned after meethi Eid, but it will no longer be the grand wedding we planned, but I will do the best I can Inshallah.”

The riots that began on the night of February 23 onwards, in the densely populated, primalrily Muslim areas of North East Delhi were planned well in advance, had trained hitmen armed with weapons and  were most likely helped by local goons who pointed out Muslim owned business, shops, and homes to be targetted, say survivors. 

Of course the plan unfolded with hate speeches by politicians, intimidation, and verbal attacks, even as the police looked on as if it was the norm, say residents. The riots spread like wildfire over the next few days and consumed lives, homes, and livelihoods, mostly of Muslim families, as well as a few Hindu families. A month after the embers have supposedly died down, the residents from across the affected region came together and shared stories of loss, government apathy, and continuing trauma at a ‘People’s Tribunal on Delhi Carnage’, organised by Anhad in collaboration with Alliance Defending Freedom, Aman Biradari, Amnesty International India, United Christian Forum and Muslim Women's Forum. 

Over 30 riot-victims,  and some civil society activists testified and shared facts with the tribunal jury: Justice Aftab Alam, Prof. Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander, Pamela Philipose, Dr Syeda Hameed and Prof. Tanika Sarkar. They heard story after story that showed how  North-East Delhi riots too were a Pogrom targeting minorities, similar to the Anti Sikh riots that burned the city in 1984.

Delhi violence
People's Tribunal on Delhi Carnage, Anatomy, Arson, Relief & Road Ahead
 

In February 2020 too, the violence seemed to have been planned, the rioters were armed with weapons that could break open doors and ransack interiors, including metal tipped wood, iron rods, petrol bombs, burning tyres, gas cylinders ready to be set off as bombs. The items looted were carried off in vehicles brought in for the purpose, before the shops were set ablaze. Masjids were attacked to drive home the point that minorities were not seen as equal citizens. “There is nothing to loot in a Masjid. It is just a hall. Copies of our holy book the Quran Sharif were burned. What message does that send?” asked a resident, an affluent businessman who lost crores in stock and property, but considers this as the biggest attack, “I will never trust the police again in my life.” 

Survivors were united in the opinion that the Delhi Police did not do its duty and alleged that some policemen were “complicit with the mobs, attacked Muslims, and threw tear gas shells at unarmed residents”. The Police they say watched, or walked away as the mobs rampaged the area and attacked the residents. “Police could have stopped the violence one day one. None of this would have happened,” said a resident, “the rioters had police protection, and had all kinds of weapons in their hands.”

Even the Fire Brigade, and Ambulance services did not respond to distress calls say residents of North East delhi. “We called 112 many times but they said we can't reach, the roads are blocked. We called the policemen we personally knew many times, but their phones were busy and they never returned the calls. Some policemen told us not to come to our shops as mobs were gathering, and some even said we should leave the area and save our lives.” 

“The police did not respond to distress calls, those who were stationed near the shops also left when the mobs grew. The policeman said, ‘the mobs are huge, and we do not have enough forces’ imagine that,” said a resident who says he has lost faith in Delhi Police and will no longer trust them to maintain the law and order to bring peace and normalcy back in riot-affected areas. “As long as I am alive I will never trust Delhi Police. I will never forget.” 

Residents do not know who they can depend on now and have notheir but their personal faith, “we trust allah. Only he can help us.”

“There was organized loot that took place and targeted mostly Muslim shops. They were ransacked methodically and then burnt to the ground using petrol bombs and burning tyres. In areas where Muslim owned shops and Hindu owned shops were set up side by side, the mob only harmed the ones owned by Muslims.”

Many survivors are convinced that the rioters may have been brought from outside Delhi but it was the locals who guided them to our shops and homes, only a local would know the area, markets and by lanes so well. “My shop did not even have a signboard. It was locals who pointed it out to rioters,” said Moinuddin.

The residents say their trauma has increased when they realised the police, or any other government authority would not do anything to help them. A fact that was driven home in the days after the initial violence subsided. Even now, almost a month after the riots damages and loss of property have been underreported. “The police have combined unrelated FIRs, and some people have not been able to file FIR of Medico-Legal Cases (MLCs) at all,” said a resident. Without this most people have missed out on compensation and have little hope of seeing culprits behind bars. 

So far Delhi Police have confirmed 53 deaths, including a policeman and an intelligence officer, more than 200 people injured and 200 homes, shops, schools, vehicles and religious places burnt down. Many residents, mostly young men, are still missing, however, bodies are still being pulled out of the sewage canals.

There was migrant labour in the area as well, and none of them have been accounted for, say residents. Most damages were  under-reported by the Home Minister Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha on 11th March 2020, the tribunal noted.

Another fact brought up by the survivors was that medical help arrived too late due to police barricades, but when the victims were taken to hospitals in private vehicles by friends and family, they were not given dignified treatment. A few hospitals like Al Hind and GTB treated the victims, but there are reports of various private hospitals where the victims were refused help, a few even alleged that the doctors also taunted the Muslim victims.

Only after Justice VS. Justice Murlidhar led the midnight hearing at Delhi High Court on February 26 and ordered for the Police to act as per their duties, did they act. Too little, too late, say residents.

“Still Delhi Police did not register FIRs against BJP leader, Kapil Mishra who’s words most of the survivors and victims said ignited the riots. He said fire to Delhi,” said a resident adding that no action was taken against  BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma either, for their hate speeches.

The trauma and the shock is yet to wear off as mistrust and fear are high in these areas, even weeks after the riots. The recovery process for many is as bad as the riot itself. Even those who were once well off, and owned multiple properties, or ran big showrooms are helpless. Almost none of them had insurance, and the loss of material and stock has crippled them. The worst affected are those who ran business, small workshops from rented properties. Even the properties which were not damaged are not accessible to them anymore, “Our landlords are Hindu. They have evicted us and told us they won’t rent to Muslims.  If this isn't a financial and economic boycott, then what is it?” 

Some residents who lost all their official papers when their property was burned down do not know how they can get any compensation at all. “I have yet to receive any compensation but some of my institutions were on rented properties,” a Hindu resident said.

The jury pointed out that while members of both communities have lost property, life and faced damages to their homes, “statistically the rate of damages to Muslim households and businesses and lives was much larger.”

Testimonies from both communities showed that they had been living in harmony and had no communal tensions, however, locals said the eruption of violence has been backed by years of preparation and hate conditioning. Hate spewing politicians, and biased television news channels have gone unchecked. The jury noted that the “psycho-social damage that has happened for the communities, especially the women and the children of the Muslim communities cannot be measured.”

Most survivors said the riots may be officially over but they are still traumatised economically, emotionally and physically, by the riots and even though they lived to tell the stories they continue to be haunted by the sounds, sights and smells of the hate and violence they were subjected to. 

“For two days we faced stone pelting, firing, and barely managed to escape with our kids,” Rukhsana still has a blank look in her eyes, and is scared that her husband, a scrap dealer, may not be able to find any work. The charity, and help from others will soon run out, and survival will be a challenge for the family. Her fear is palpable.

(Some names, locations changed/ hidden to protect survivors) 


Related:

Delhi violence: Concerned citizens write to Delhi govt asking for enhanced compensation
Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  
Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

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Delhi violence: Concerned citizens write to Delhi govt asking for enhanced compensation

The letter suggests CM to take into account some additional factors while determining compensation to the affected persons

13 Mar 2020

Delhi violence

On March 11 well known personalities like Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Annie Raja, Harsh Mander, Apoorvanand, Anirban Bhattacharya and Amrita Johri  wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to increase the amount of compensation to people affected by the violence in Delhi. While appreciating the government’s recently released order date March 5 which decides compensation rates according to degree of damage, and recognizing floor-wise units for compensation of destroyed residential property, the appeal asks that the government take a few other factors in consideration while determining compensation.

Their suggestions have been meticulously put forth in a bullet form under headings of ex-gratia compensation, loss of moveable property, enhance damage to uninsured commercial property/ commercial articles, create additional categories, daily survival expenses, internal displacement and process of compensation disbursement.

The appeal suggests that while determining compensation factors like inflation and cost of living in Delhi should be taken into account and ex-gratia compensation be enhanced to Rs. 25 lakhs compared to the Rs. 10 lakhs currently being offered by the government. It also suggests that “Forms of sexual violence, recognized under the Indian penal code, including rape, assault or criminal force to outrage modesty or intent to disrobe, must be added to the categories of injury with a compensation amount of 5 lakhs. “

It further suggests that in the category of moveable property articles such as motorbikes, cars, auto rickshaws, cycles, sewing machines, rehdis (thelas) should be included. The appeal suggests that there should also be room for consideration of exceptional cases, and additionally, loss of employment opportunities and evicted tenants should be made eligible for compensation as their lives have also been affected due to violence in the capital.

The appeal also proposes that daily survival expenses should be provided to families who had to flee their homes as a result of the violence. The signatories also appeal to the government to recognize the category of internally displaced persons. Finally, it suggested that the process for disbursement of compensation should be time bound so that affected persons can benefit from the relief at the earliest and also that the claims submitted by the affected persons be digitized and uploaded on the government’s website to ensure transparency.

The letter may be read here.

 

Related:

Delhi HC adjourns all riot related cases till March 20
Is Amit Shah’s LS speech about Delhi violence a chilling sign of things to come?
Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi
Delhi violence: Allegations of indiscriminate arrests of Muslim men

Delhi violence: Concerned citizens write to Delhi govt asking for enhanced compensation

The letter suggests CM to take into account some additional factors while determining compensation to the affected persons

Delhi violence

On March 11 well known personalities like Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Annie Raja, Harsh Mander, Apoorvanand, Anirban Bhattacharya and Amrita Johri  wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to increase the amount of compensation to people affected by the violence in Delhi. While appreciating the government’s recently released order date March 5 which decides compensation rates according to degree of damage, and recognizing floor-wise units for compensation of destroyed residential property, the appeal asks that the government take a few other factors in consideration while determining compensation.

Their suggestions have been meticulously put forth in a bullet form under headings of ex-gratia compensation, loss of moveable property, enhance damage to uninsured commercial property/ commercial articles, create additional categories, daily survival expenses, internal displacement and process of compensation disbursement.

The appeal suggests that while determining compensation factors like inflation and cost of living in Delhi should be taken into account and ex-gratia compensation be enhanced to Rs. 25 lakhs compared to the Rs. 10 lakhs currently being offered by the government. It also suggests that “Forms of sexual violence, recognized under the Indian penal code, including rape, assault or criminal force to outrage modesty or intent to disrobe, must be added to the categories of injury with a compensation amount of 5 lakhs. “

It further suggests that in the category of moveable property articles such as motorbikes, cars, auto rickshaws, cycles, sewing machines, rehdis (thelas) should be included. The appeal suggests that there should also be room for consideration of exceptional cases, and additionally, loss of employment opportunities and evicted tenants should be made eligible for compensation as their lives have also been affected due to violence in the capital.

The appeal also proposes that daily survival expenses should be provided to families who had to flee their homes as a result of the violence. The signatories also appeal to the government to recognize the category of internally displaced persons. Finally, it suggested that the process for disbursement of compensation should be time bound so that affected persons can benefit from the relief at the earliest and also that the claims submitted by the affected persons be digitized and uploaded on the government’s website to ensure transparency.

The letter may be read here.

 

Related:

Delhi HC adjourns all riot related cases till March 20
Is Amit Shah’s LS speech about Delhi violence a chilling sign of things to come?
Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi
Delhi violence: Allegations of indiscriminate arrests of Muslim men

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“Everyone has been Silenced”: a comprehensive report on UP violence and its aftermath

The report by Citizens Against Hate (CAH), gives detailed account of alleged episodes of police excess, destruction of property and targeted violence in UP

11 Mar 2020

UP Violence

Citizens Against Hate (CAH), a Delhi based collective of individuals and groups concerned with rising trend of hate mobilisation and crime. They released a report titled “Everyone has been Silenced – Police Excesses against anti-CAA protestors in Uttar Pradesh and the post-violence reprisal” put together by a team of human rights experts, defenders and lawyers.

The report has explored various issues that marred the spectacle of violence in Uttar Pradesh after the anti-CAA protests broke out in December 2019, such as gag orders, targeted violence, police subversion of justice, forced burials, doctored FIRs, delayed autopsy reports, witness intimidation, impunity and such other chilling revelations.

The UP administration had taken pre-emptive steps anticipating protests once the Citizenship Amendment Bill became a law by imposing prohibitive orders under section 144 of the CrPC against public assembly. Hence, the state was quick in taking action against protestors and resorted to baton charge without provocation, and used tear gas shells and stun grenades indiscriminately. As per citizens fact finding reports, 22 people died in police firing in the state and several other were grievously injured. UP Police allegedly also ransacked homes and destroyed private property in Muslim neighbourhoods in Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Lucknow and Firozabad.

While a lot of BJP ruled states experienced violence against anti-CAA protestors, UP remains the most brutal of them all because it put on display what an extreme police raj looks like and demonstrated to what lengths a government can go to intimidate a certain community by employing means such as brute violence, destruction of property, subversion of justice, exacting of revenge, enabling impunity to the culprits and so on.

In, what the report called “exacting revenge”, it is pointed out that UP police allegedly detained individuals arbitrarily even after the violence had stopped and this included detention of minors in many instances with reports of custodial torture and inhuman treatment towards adults and minors alike. The “revengeful” attitude of the UP administration was also reflected in the authorized sealing of shops and properties of those allegedly involved in violence during the protests. The state also issued recovery notices in order to recover damages caused to public property during the protests and the violence that took place along with it.

The most chilling details come from the families of the people who died during the violence, specially police excess. The report states that families of the deceased from across districts report a pattern of threats and intimidation by police, from the time of registration of complaints to conduct of autopsies. Police in several instances did not allow bodies to be taken home for burial, rather forced burials at distant locations, in hurried funerals, with the intent to dispose off bodies speedily.

According to Post Mortem (PM) reports and photographic evidence, all deaths (except the one in Varanasi) occurred due to gunshot injuries. Whether survivor families have approached the police or not, the offence of murder (Section 302, Indian Penal Code [IPC]) has not been registered. Where they have, FIRs invoke only Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)), and do not mention bullet wounds, in several cases stating that the death was due to minor injury. In the lone case of FIR registered under Section 302 IPC, it blames unknown protesters for the firing.

.Families report intimidation by police at time of registering FIR, not to record bullet injuries as cause of death; or that police firing might have been the cause, dictating instead that it was protesters’ shooting and/or minor injuries that caused the deaths. Despite some families naming police officers as likely accused, none were recorded in FIRs. There are also reports that police refused to hand bodies back to families, unless they signed off on complaints dictated and drafted by police. In other cases, release of PM report or release of children from detention (Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal) was made conditional on survivors signing off on the dictated statements.

In many instances, families were  allegedly not provided with copies of FIRs immediately until the Allahabad High Court intervened and it was observed that many FIRs were inconsistent with the post mortem reports. The CAH report observes that these are triangulated with survivor testimonies, the extent of the subversion seems nothing but deliberate and systematic.

Most of these actions are being seen as silencing tactics by the state to deter further protests and to stifle Human Rights Defenders by slapping false charges against them and also resorting to filing of open FIRs by not naming the accused, leaving them open for misuse.

As per the report, evidence is also mounting of police in several districts working with vigilante groups to target protesters and maintain order which points towards a perilous situation still prevalent in the state.

The Report’s recommendations included adopting remedial measures like witness protection, registration of cases against policemen, compensation to affected families; as well as preventive measures such as increased representation of reserved categories in police force, better training in human rights violations and crowd control to police personnel as well as reformed procedures in crime registration and investigation.

The report also points towards the institutional bias against the Muslim community in UP. The state has historically witnessed mass targeted violence towards Muslims. In 2018, Delhi High Court in Zulfikar Nasir and Ors. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, held 16 policemen of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) guilty of “targeted killing by armed forces of the unarmed, innocent and defenceless members of a particular community. The report thus states that the overall context of institutional bias is a prime indicator against which the UP Police’s role and actions can be gauged in the present violence too.

The fact that the prohibitive orders under section 144 of CrPC still continue in UP shows the state’s utter disregards towards human rights violations and its harsh control over public life, creating an atmosphere of terror.

The report also points out how the various commissions that are supposed to protect the interests of certain classes have also failed to bring justice to the affected persons in the state. Bodies like National Commission for Minorities failed to do the needful and the Human Rights Commissions’ procedures have denied any concrete remedies to those affected.

The report is a detailed account of all cases of violence and post violence reprisals and incidents of subversion of justice by the police force. It goes on to include witness testimonials and accounts which clearly point towards a conclusion that state sponsored targeted violence took place in Uttar Pradesh and the ground reality remains that the state intends to continue its reign of terror.


The complete report may be read here. (click here to download the file)


Related:

Motion against India’s divisive Citizenship Amendment Act moved in New Westminster

Delhi violence: Allegations of indiscriminate arrests of Muslim men

Do Indian Courts have no power to intervene when lives are at stake?

“Everyone has been Silenced”: a comprehensive report on UP violence and its aftermath

The report by Citizens Against Hate (CAH), gives detailed account of alleged episodes of police excess, destruction of property and targeted violence in UP

UP Violence

Citizens Against Hate (CAH), a Delhi based collective of individuals and groups concerned with rising trend of hate mobilisation and crime. They released a report titled “Everyone has been Silenced – Police Excesses against anti-CAA protestors in Uttar Pradesh and the post-violence reprisal” put together by a team of human rights experts, defenders and lawyers.

The report has explored various issues that marred the spectacle of violence in Uttar Pradesh after the anti-CAA protests broke out in December 2019, such as gag orders, targeted violence, police subversion of justice, forced burials, doctored FIRs, delayed autopsy reports, witness intimidation, impunity and such other chilling revelations.

The UP administration had taken pre-emptive steps anticipating protests once the Citizenship Amendment Bill became a law by imposing prohibitive orders under section 144 of the CrPC against public assembly. Hence, the state was quick in taking action against protestors and resorted to baton charge without provocation, and used tear gas shells and stun grenades indiscriminately. As per citizens fact finding reports, 22 people died in police firing in the state and several other were grievously injured. UP Police allegedly also ransacked homes and destroyed private property in Muslim neighbourhoods in Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Lucknow and Firozabad.

While a lot of BJP ruled states experienced violence against anti-CAA protestors, UP remains the most brutal of them all because it put on display what an extreme police raj looks like and demonstrated to what lengths a government can go to intimidate a certain community by employing means such as brute violence, destruction of property, subversion of justice, exacting of revenge, enabling impunity to the culprits and so on.

In, what the report called “exacting revenge”, it is pointed out that UP police allegedly detained individuals arbitrarily even after the violence had stopped and this included detention of minors in many instances with reports of custodial torture and inhuman treatment towards adults and minors alike. The “revengeful” attitude of the UP administration was also reflected in the authorized sealing of shops and properties of those allegedly involved in violence during the protests. The state also issued recovery notices in order to recover damages caused to public property during the protests and the violence that took place along with it.

The most chilling details come from the families of the people who died during the violence, specially police excess. The report states that families of the deceased from across districts report a pattern of threats and intimidation by police, from the time of registration of complaints to conduct of autopsies. Police in several instances did not allow bodies to be taken home for burial, rather forced burials at distant locations, in hurried funerals, with the intent to dispose off bodies speedily.

According to Post Mortem (PM) reports and photographic evidence, all deaths (except the one in Varanasi) occurred due to gunshot injuries. Whether survivor families have approached the police or not, the offence of murder (Section 302, Indian Penal Code [IPC]) has not been registered. Where they have, FIRs invoke only Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)), and do not mention bullet wounds, in several cases stating that the death was due to minor injury. In the lone case of FIR registered under Section 302 IPC, it blames unknown protesters for the firing.

.Families report intimidation by police at time of registering FIR, not to record bullet injuries as cause of death; or that police firing might have been the cause, dictating instead that it was protesters’ shooting and/or minor injuries that caused the deaths. Despite some families naming police officers as likely accused, none were recorded in FIRs. There are also reports that police refused to hand bodies back to families, unless they signed off on complaints dictated and drafted by police. In other cases, release of PM report or release of children from detention (Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal) was made conditional on survivors signing off on the dictated statements.

In many instances, families were  allegedly not provided with copies of FIRs immediately until the Allahabad High Court intervened and it was observed that many FIRs were inconsistent with the post mortem reports. The CAH report observes that these are triangulated with survivor testimonies, the extent of the subversion seems nothing but deliberate and systematic.

Most of these actions are being seen as silencing tactics by the state to deter further protests and to stifle Human Rights Defenders by slapping false charges against them and also resorting to filing of open FIRs by not naming the accused, leaving them open for misuse.

As per the report, evidence is also mounting of police in several districts working with vigilante groups to target protesters and maintain order which points towards a perilous situation still prevalent in the state.

The Report’s recommendations included adopting remedial measures like witness protection, registration of cases against policemen, compensation to affected families; as well as preventive measures such as increased representation of reserved categories in police force, better training in human rights violations and crowd control to police personnel as well as reformed procedures in crime registration and investigation.

The report also points towards the institutional bias against the Muslim community in UP. The state has historically witnessed mass targeted violence towards Muslims. In 2018, Delhi High Court in Zulfikar Nasir and Ors. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, held 16 policemen of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) guilty of “targeted killing by armed forces of the unarmed, innocent and defenceless members of a particular community. The report thus states that the overall context of institutional bias is a prime indicator against which the UP Police’s role and actions can be gauged in the present violence too.

The fact that the prohibitive orders under section 144 of CrPC still continue in UP shows the state’s utter disregards towards human rights violations and its harsh control over public life, creating an atmosphere of terror.

The report also points out how the various commissions that are supposed to protect the interests of certain classes have also failed to bring justice to the affected persons in the state. Bodies like National Commission for Minorities failed to do the needful and the Human Rights Commissions’ procedures have denied any concrete remedies to those affected.

The report is a detailed account of all cases of violence and post violence reprisals and incidents of subversion of justice by the police force. It goes on to include witness testimonials and accounts which clearly point towards a conclusion that state sponsored targeted violence took place in Uttar Pradesh and the ground reality remains that the state intends to continue its reign of terror.


The complete report may be read here. (click here to download the file)


Related:

Motion against India’s divisive Citizenship Amendment Act moved in New Westminster

Delhi violence: Allegations of indiscriminate arrests of Muslim men

Do Indian Courts have no power to intervene when lives are at stake?

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Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  

Report by CAAJ also shows how complicity and partisanship of the media itself has led to journalists on ground paying the price

09 Mar 2020

attack on media
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP Photo

The Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) has released a report titled "Republic In Peril" that showcases recent cases of assaults on journalists in Delhi during the period from December 2019 to February 2020. The report documents a total of 32 such cases spread across three phases.


Phase 1: December 15-20, 2019

The report documents seven cases of journalists being assaulted when the went to cover the violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). According to the report, during this period, “These assaulted journalists included mainstream news channels, agency, international media BBC and digital platforms. The assaulters included mob and police.”

One of the most infamous cases of assault during this period was that of Shaheen Abdulla, who was covering the story for Maktoob Media, an English digital news platform based in New Delhi. Video of him being chased by cops, being dragged and beaten brutally and then being shielded by two young women Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Sakhaloon outside the JMIU campus had gone viral. In an interview to NDTV Abdullah had recounted his story as follows:

“When I saw them trapped (the female students of Jamia Millia Islamia), I rushed towards them. I knew them personally. I tried to help them to move to a safe place. When the cops came running, I showed them my press card and told them that I am a journalist. 'Don't beat me up; I am not here for any kind of violence. I am just trying to help them for medical attention’. But they started tapping me with their lathis on my legs. While I tried explaining them with the ID in my hand, they kept beating me. Then we went to a safe place, cops came in a group and they were like 'now you come out'. They tried to induce me to follow their instruction. The girls protected me by shielding around. When girls started to come in-front, cops started to come inside. And somehow they (cops) got a hand on me and they pulled me outside."

Another case was that of BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh who was physically assaulted by a policeman. She said, “I came here for BBC's coverage. The police took away my phone and broke it. A male cop pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuses at me.”

Nationwide, there were a total of 16 cases where reporters and camera persons were covering protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


Phase 2: January 2020

The report says, “On January 5, 2020 journalists were targeted outside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, which was attacked on the same evening by a veiled mob. The number of cases reported in various media outlets and first-hand cases reported on twitter count to half a dozen. Those assaulted were also specifically targeted, stopped from coverage and directed/intimated by the mob.” It adds, “This phase reached its peak on the last day of January, 2020 when journalists were hounded, beaten up and detained at ITO and Rajghat. The numbers included more than ten, many of them senior scribes who were there to report Satyagraha March and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. More than half a dozen journalists were detained until dark in a local stadium. Delhi Police was solely responsible for this assault.”

The report quoted first hand accounts by many journalists. For example, Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll.in was recording a video of the sloganeering right-wing activists at the JNU main gate on January 5, 2020, when he was surrounded, called a “Naxalwadi”, shoved around and hit on the head. Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in reported that a group armed with bats and sticks was stationed near the main gate. She overheard one of the members of the group say: “Beat up NDTV guys if you see them.”

On January 31, 2020, many journalists were violently attacked at detained by the police at ITO. The Press Club of India in a condemnation statement said, "From the first reports we have, Rajesh Kumar, Shivesh Garg and a clutch of other journalists were forcibly taken away to an unknown destination- probably a distant detention centre or police station. We have no further information." Other journalists also attacked by police included photographer Sanjay K. Jha of The Telegraph, and S. K. Pande, a senior journalist and leader of the Delhi Union of Journalists.


Phase 3: February 2020

The report reveals several horror stories of intimidation, violence and humiliation inflicted upon journalists during this period. The report says, “The third phase is a dark chapter of horror in the history of Freedom of Press in Delhi that reminded many of the Emergency days. Around 18 cases were reported where journalists were not only stopped from coverage, but identified as Hindu/Muslims, ashamed publicly and beaten up by the rioting mob. There camera, equipment broken and vehicles burnt up by the mob.”

On February 24 Akash Napa of JK 24 was shot at while reporting from Maujpur. He was admitted to the GTB Hospital. "The bullet is stuck inside and the doctors have said operating is risky,” his brother told Newslaundry. “He has been shifted to a ward and they are doing some tests.”

On February 25, 2020, NDTV’s Saurabh Shukla and Arvind Gunasekar were brutally assaulted while covering the vandalism at a Muslim shrine at Meet Nagar. Shukla describes events saying, “I was just behind Arvind, 20-30 metres behind him. When we stopped recording, one protester, or one rioter for that matter, he spotted Arvind. They grabbed Arvind and started beating him up. I saw Arvind was lying on the floor. He was bleeding. I came for his rescue,” he said. “They were about to hit Arvind with a stick on his head. I intervened, and so that stick landed on my shoulder.”

Saurabh said the mob punched him and dragged him away from Arvind because they thought Arvind alone was filming. “Later, I did not show them my NDTV ID. I had a Foreign Correspondents’ Club card. I had shown them that and told them that I was not reporting for any Indian television; I was from some foreign agency,” he said. “They kept telling us, get Arvind to delete everything from his phone. And later, they did stop beating us up because they saw my name and said, ‘You’re from our own community. You should not be doing this. You should not be filming this.’”

But things were much worse for freelance journalist Sushil Manav who was allegedly forced to strip and even recite the Hanuman Chalisa to prove he wasn’t Muslim. Times of India’s Anindya Chattopadhyay also faced a similar ordeal on January 24, 2020. He wrote about his ordeal in the newspaper. Stepping out of the Maujpur metro station just past noon, he wrote, he was “taken by surprise when a Hindu Sena member suddenly approached me offering to put tilak on my forehead saying it would make my work ‘easier’. ‘You are also a Hindu, bhaiya. What is the harm?’ the man said.”

When Chattopadhyay tried to photograph a building that had been set on fire, a few men wielding bamboo sticks and rods surrounded him. They tried to snatch his camera, but his colleague, Sakshi Chand, stepped in, and the men went away. But later, he wrote, a group of men followed him. A youth accosted him and said, “Bhai, tu zyada uchhal raha hai. Tu Hindu hai ya Musalman?” Chattopdhyay said they threatened to take off his pants so they could confirm if he was Hindu or Muslim. Only after pleading with folded hands that he was let go.


Conclusion

The report concludes by drawing a grave image of the republic indicting the legislature and the executive in equal parts for their role in the entire matter. It also speaks about the polarization of media and its disastrous consequences. It says, “In recent times, we have witnessed a complete partisan character of media owing to its ownership and business model. The coining of new terms such as "Godi" (lapdog) media and "Rashtrawadi" media suggest a complete polarisation among media outlets. This has created a perception polarisation among media consumers who consume the information and news from "our" media and reject "their" media. The polarisation of news landscape has resulted in identification of individual journalists from their banners/brands. This identification either glorifies an individual journalist or vilifies it.”

It adds, “Here comes the polarised character of assault too. The assaults on journalists have increasingly become some sort of "identity punishing", depending which group he/she is representing. This we have shown in first two phases of assault in December and January. Whenever this sort of assault takes place, the reaction inside the media fraternity is also divided on the same lines. Never has been a single incident of assault in last few years when the whole fraternity spoke in a single voice.”

The report then showcases the consequences of polarization and lack of unity saying, “The natural result of this complicity and partisanship was what we witnessed in the last week of February when no one was in the condition to prove his/her innocence and credentials in front of a rioting mob, asking for identity proof. A scribe from a partisan media house was targeted for the same cause whereas another scribe from a non-partisan outlet was targeted due to the polarised perception. The reality and perception both stand polarised heavily. Journalists on ground are paying price for it.”

The entire report may be read here: 

 

Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  

Report by CAAJ also shows how complicity and partisanship of the media itself has led to journalists on ground paying the price

attack on media
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP Photo

The Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) has released a report titled "Republic In Peril" that showcases recent cases of assaults on journalists in Delhi during the period from December 2019 to February 2020. The report documents a total of 32 such cases spread across three phases.


Phase 1: December 15-20, 2019

The report documents seven cases of journalists being assaulted when the went to cover the violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). According to the report, during this period, “These assaulted journalists included mainstream news channels, agency, international media BBC and digital platforms. The assaulters included mob and police.”

One of the most infamous cases of assault during this period was that of Shaheen Abdulla, who was covering the story for Maktoob Media, an English digital news platform based in New Delhi. Video of him being chased by cops, being dragged and beaten brutally and then being shielded by two young women Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Sakhaloon outside the JMIU campus had gone viral. In an interview to NDTV Abdullah had recounted his story as follows:

“When I saw them trapped (the female students of Jamia Millia Islamia), I rushed towards them. I knew them personally. I tried to help them to move to a safe place. When the cops came running, I showed them my press card and told them that I am a journalist. 'Don't beat me up; I am not here for any kind of violence. I am just trying to help them for medical attention’. But they started tapping me with their lathis on my legs. While I tried explaining them with the ID in my hand, they kept beating me. Then we went to a safe place, cops came in a group and they were like 'now you come out'. They tried to induce me to follow their instruction. The girls protected me by shielding around. When girls started to come in-front, cops started to come inside. And somehow they (cops) got a hand on me and they pulled me outside."

Another case was that of BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh who was physically assaulted by a policeman. She said, “I came here for BBC's coverage. The police took away my phone and broke it. A male cop pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuses at me.”

Nationwide, there were a total of 16 cases where reporters and camera persons were covering protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


Phase 2: January 2020

The report says, “On January 5, 2020 journalists were targeted outside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, which was attacked on the same evening by a veiled mob. The number of cases reported in various media outlets and first-hand cases reported on twitter count to half a dozen. Those assaulted were also specifically targeted, stopped from coverage and directed/intimated by the mob.” It adds, “This phase reached its peak on the last day of January, 2020 when journalists were hounded, beaten up and detained at ITO and Rajghat. The numbers included more than ten, many of them senior scribes who were there to report Satyagraha March and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. More than half a dozen journalists were detained until dark in a local stadium. Delhi Police was solely responsible for this assault.”

The report quoted first hand accounts by many journalists. For example, Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll.in was recording a video of the sloganeering right-wing activists at the JNU main gate on January 5, 2020, when he was surrounded, called a “Naxalwadi”, shoved around and hit on the head. Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in reported that a group armed with bats and sticks was stationed near the main gate. She overheard one of the members of the group say: “Beat up NDTV guys if you see them.”

On January 31, 2020, many journalists were violently attacked at detained by the police at ITO. The Press Club of India in a condemnation statement said, "From the first reports we have, Rajesh Kumar, Shivesh Garg and a clutch of other journalists were forcibly taken away to an unknown destination- probably a distant detention centre or police station. We have no further information." Other journalists also attacked by police included photographer Sanjay K. Jha of The Telegraph, and S. K. Pande, a senior journalist and leader of the Delhi Union of Journalists.


Phase 3: February 2020

The report reveals several horror stories of intimidation, violence and humiliation inflicted upon journalists during this period. The report says, “The third phase is a dark chapter of horror in the history of Freedom of Press in Delhi that reminded many of the Emergency days. Around 18 cases were reported where journalists were not only stopped from coverage, but identified as Hindu/Muslims, ashamed publicly and beaten up by the rioting mob. There camera, equipment broken and vehicles burnt up by the mob.”

On February 24 Akash Napa of JK 24 was shot at while reporting from Maujpur. He was admitted to the GTB Hospital. "The bullet is stuck inside and the doctors have said operating is risky,” his brother told Newslaundry. “He has been shifted to a ward and they are doing some tests.”

On February 25, 2020, NDTV’s Saurabh Shukla and Arvind Gunasekar were brutally assaulted while covering the vandalism at a Muslim shrine at Meet Nagar. Shukla describes events saying, “I was just behind Arvind, 20-30 metres behind him. When we stopped recording, one protester, or one rioter for that matter, he spotted Arvind. They grabbed Arvind and started beating him up. I saw Arvind was lying on the floor. He was bleeding. I came for his rescue,” he said. “They were about to hit Arvind with a stick on his head. I intervened, and so that stick landed on my shoulder.”

Saurabh said the mob punched him and dragged him away from Arvind because they thought Arvind alone was filming. “Later, I did not show them my NDTV ID. I had a Foreign Correspondents’ Club card. I had shown them that and told them that I was not reporting for any Indian television; I was from some foreign agency,” he said. “They kept telling us, get Arvind to delete everything from his phone. And later, they did stop beating us up because they saw my name and said, ‘You’re from our own community. You should not be doing this. You should not be filming this.’”

But things were much worse for freelance journalist Sushil Manav who was allegedly forced to strip and even recite the Hanuman Chalisa to prove he wasn’t Muslim. Times of India’s Anindya Chattopadhyay also faced a similar ordeal on January 24, 2020. He wrote about his ordeal in the newspaper. Stepping out of the Maujpur metro station just past noon, he wrote, he was “taken by surprise when a Hindu Sena member suddenly approached me offering to put tilak on my forehead saying it would make my work ‘easier’. ‘You are also a Hindu, bhaiya. What is the harm?’ the man said.”

When Chattopadhyay tried to photograph a building that had been set on fire, a few men wielding bamboo sticks and rods surrounded him. They tried to snatch his camera, but his colleague, Sakshi Chand, stepped in, and the men went away. But later, he wrote, a group of men followed him. A youth accosted him and said, “Bhai, tu zyada uchhal raha hai. Tu Hindu hai ya Musalman?” Chattopdhyay said they threatened to take off his pants so they could confirm if he was Hindu or Muslim. Only after pleading with folded hands that he was let go.


Conclusion

The report concludes by drawing a grave image of the republic indicting the legislature and the executive in equal parts for their role in the entire matter. It also speaks about the polarization of media and its disastrous consequences. It says, “In recent times, we have witnessed a complete partisan character of media owing to its ownership and business model. The coining of new terms such as "Godi" (lapdog) media and "Rashtrawadi" media suggest a complete polarisation among media outlets. This has created a perception polarisation among media consumers who consume the information and news from "our" media and reject "their" media. The polarisation of news landscape has resulted in identification of individual journalists from their banners/brands. This identification either glorifies an individual journalist or vilifies it.”

It adds, “Here comes the polarised character of assault too. The assaults on journalists have increasingly become some sort of "identity punishing", depending which group he/she is representing. This we have shown in first two phases of assault in December and January. Whenever this sort of assault takes place, the reaction inside the media fraternity is also divided on the same lines. Never has been a single incident of assault in last few years when the whole fraternity spoke in a single voice.”

The report then showcases the consequences of polarization and lack of unity saying, “The natural result of this complicity and partisanship was what we witnessed in the last week of February when no one was in the condition to prove his/her innocence and credentials in front of a rioting mob, asking for identity proof. A scribe from a partisan media house was targeted for the same cause whereas another scribe from a non-partisan outlet was targeted due to the polarised perception. The reality and perception both stand polarised heavily. Journalists on ground are paying price for it.”

The entire report may be read here: 

 

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Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

09 Mar 2020

delhi violence
Image: PTI

They say ‘history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce’. In case of India, communal violence not only keeps repeating itself, the pattern of the tragedy keeps changing every time. Some features of the violence are constant, but they are under the wraps, mostly. The same can be said about the Delhi violence (February 2020). The interpretations, the causative factors are very discernible, but those who are generally the perpetrators, have a knack of shifting the blame on the victim community or those who stand for the victims.

As the carnage began presumably in the aftermath of statement of Kapil Mishra of BJP, which was given in front of a top police official, in which he threatened to get the roads emptied. The roots of violence were sown earlier. The interpretations given by the Hindu Nationalist camp is that the riot is due to the changing demographic profile of the area with Muslims increasing in number in those areas, and coming up of Shaheen Bagh which was presented was like ‘Mini Pakistan’. As per them the policies of BJP in matters of triple talaq, Article 370 and CAA, NPR, NRC has unnerved the ‘radical’ elements and so this violence.

As such before coming to the observations of the activists and scholars of communal violence in India, we can in brief say that violence, in which nearly 46 people have died, include one from police and another from intelligence. Majority of the victims are Muslims. The violence started right under the nose of the police and the ruling party. From the videos and other eye witness accounts, police not only looked the other way around, at places it assisted those attacking the innocent victims and burning and looting selective shops. Home minister, Amit Shah, was nowhere on the scene. For first three days the rioters had free run. After the paramilitary force was brought in; the violence simmered and slowly reduced in intensity. The state AAP Government, which in a way is the byproduct of RSS supported Anna Hazare movement, was busy reading Hanuman Chalisa and praying at Rajghat with eyes closed to the mayhem going in parts of Delhi.

Communal violence is the sore point of Indian society. It did begin during colonial period due to British policy of ‘Divide and Rule’. At root cause was the communal view of looking at history and proactive British acts to sow the seeds of Hindu-Muslim divide. At other level, the administrative wing and police, the British were fairly neutral. On one hand was the national movement, uniting the people and creating and strengthening the fraternal feeling among all Indians. On the other were Muslim Communalists (Muslim League) and Hindu Communalists (Hindu Mahasabha, RSS) who assisted the British goal of ‘divide and rule’ promoting hatred between the communities. After partition the first major change was the change in attitude of police and administration which started tilting against Muslims. Major studies by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Paul Brass and Omar Khalidi demonstrated that anti Muslim bias is discernible in during and after the riots.

Now the partisan role of police has been visible all through. Sri Krishna Commission report brought forth this fact; as did the research of the Ex DIG of UP police Dr. V.N.Rai. Dr. Rai’s studies also concluded that no communal violence can go on beyond 24 hours unless state administration is complicit in the carnage. In one of the violence, investigation of which was done by concerned Citizen’s team (Dhule, 2013) this author observed that police itself went on to undertake the rampage against Muslims and Muslim properties.

General observation about riots is that violence sounds to be spontaneous, as the Home Minister is pointing out, but as such it is a well planned act. Again the violence is orchestrated in such a way that it seems Muslims have begun the riots. Who casts the first stone? To this scholars point out that the carnage is so organized that the encircled community is forced to throw the first stone. At places the pretext is made that ‘they’ (minorities) have thrown the first stone.

The pretexts against minorities are propagated, in Gujarat violence Godhra train burning, in Kandhamal the murder of Swami Laxamannand and now Shaheen bagh! The Hindu Muslim violence began as riots. But it is no more a riot, two sides are not involved. It is plain and simple anti-minority violence, in which some from the majority are also the victims.

This violence is possible as the ‘Hate against this minority’ is now more or less structural. The deeper hate against Muslims and partly against Christians; has been cultivated since long and Hindu nationalist politics, right from its Shakhas to the social media have been put to use for spreading hatred. The prevalent deeper hate has been supplanted this time by multiple utterances from BJP leaders, Modi (Can be recognized by clothes), Shah (press EVM machine button so hard that current is felt in Shaheen Bagh), Anurag Thakur (Goli (bullet) Maro) Yogi Aditya Nath (If Boli (Words)Do not work Goli will) and Parvesh Varma (They will be out to rape).

The incidental observation of the whole tragedy is the coming to surface of true colors of AAP, which not only kept mum as the carnage was peaking but also went on to praise the role of police in the whole episode. With Delhi carnage “Goli Maro” seems to be becoming the central slogan of Hindu nationalists. Delhi’s this violence has been the first one in which those getting killed are more due to bullets than by swords or knifes! Leader’s slogans do not go in vain! Courts the protectors of our Constitution seem to be of little help as if one of them like Murlidhar Rao gives the verdict to file against hate mongers, he is immediately transferred.

And lastly let’s recall the academic study of Yale University. It concludes; 'BJP gains in electoral strength after every riot'. In India the grip of communalism is increasing frighteningly. Efforts are needed to combat hate and hate mongers.       

Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

delhi violence
Image: PTI

They say ‘history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce’. In case of India, communal violence not only keeps repeating itself, the pattern of the tragedy keeps changing every time. Some features of the violence are constant, but they are under the wraps, mostly. The same can be said about the Delhi violence (February 2020). The interpretations, the causative factors are very discernible, but those who are generally the perpetrators, have a knack of shifting the blame on the victim community or those who stand for the victims.

As the carnage began presumably in the aftermath of statement of Kapil Mishra of BJP, which was given in front of a top police official, in which he threatened to get the roads emptied. The roots of violence were sown earlier. The interpretations given by the Hindu Nationalist camp is that the riot is due to the changing demographic profile of the area with Muslims increasing in number in those areas, and coming up of Shaheen Bagh which was presented was like ‘Mini Pakistan’. As per them the policies of BJP in matters of triple talaq, Article 370 and CAA, NPR, NRC has unnerved the ‘radical’ elements and so this violence.

As such before coming to the observations of the activists and scholars of communal violence in India, we can in brief say that violence, in which nearly 46 people have died, include one from police and another from intelligence. Majority of the victims are Muslims. The violence started right under the nose of the police and the ruling party. From the videos and other eye witness accounts, police not only looked the other way around, at places it assisted those attacking the innocent victims and burning and looting selective shops. Home minister, Amit Shah, was nowhere on the scene. For first three days the rioters had free run. After the paramilitary force was brought in; the violence simmered and slowly reduced in intensity. The state AAP Government, which in a way is the byproduct of RSS supported Anna Hazare movement, was busy reading Hanuman Chalisa and praying at Rajghat with eyes closed to the mayhem going in parts of Delhi.

Communal violence is the sore point of Indian society. It did begin during colonial period due to British policy of ‘Divide and Rule’. At root cause was the communal view of looking at history and proactive British acts to sow the seeds of Hindu-Muslim divide. At other level, the administrative wing and police, the British were fairly neutral. On one hand was the national movement, uniting the people and creating and strengthening the fraternal feeling among all Indians. On the other were Muslim Communalists (Muslim League) and Hindu Communalists (Hindu Mahasabha, RSS) who assisted the British goal of ‘divide and rule’ promoting hatred between the communities. After partition the first major change was the change in attitude of police and administration which started tilting against Muslims. Major studies by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Paul Brass and Omar Khalidi demonstrated that anti Muslim bias is discernible in during and after the riots.

Now the partisan role of police has been visible all through. Sri Krishna Commission report brought forth this fact; as did the research of the Ex DIG of UP police Dr. V.N.Rai. Dr. Rai’s studies also concluded that no communal violence can go on beyond 24 hours unless state administration is complicit in the carnage. In one of the violence, investigation of which was done by concerned Citizen’s team (Dhule, 2013) this author observed that police itself went on to undertake the rampage against Muslims and Muslim properties.

General observation about riots is that violence sounds to be spontaneous, as the Home Minister is pointing out, but as such it is a well planned act. Again the violence is orchestrated in such a way that it seems Muslims have begun the riots. Who casts the first stone? To this scholars point out that the carnage is so organized that the encircled community is forced to throw the first stone. At places the pretext is made that ‘they’ (minorities) have thrown the first stone.

The pretexts against minorities are propagated, in Gujarat violence Godhra train burning, in Kandhamal the murder of Swami Laxamannand and now Shaheen bagh! The Hindu Muslim violence began as riots. But it is no more a riot, two sides are not involved. It is plain and simple anti-minority violence, in which some from the majority are also the victims.

This violence is possible as the ‘Hate against this minority’ is now more or less structural. The deeper hate against Muslims and partly against Christians; has been cultivated since long and Hindu nationalist politics, right from its Shakhas to the social media have been put to use for spreading hatred. The prevalent deeper hate has been supplanted this time by multiple utterances from BJP leaders, Modi (Can be recognized by clothes), Shah (press EVM machine button so hard that current is felt in Shaheen Bagh), Anurag Thakur (Goli (bullet) Maro) Yogi Aditya Nath (If Boli (Words)Do not work Goli will) and Parvesh Varma (They will be out to rape).

The incidental observation of the whole tragedy is the coming to surface of true colors of AAP, which not only kept mum as the carnage was peaking but also went on to praise the role of police in the whole episode. With Delhi carnage “Goli Maro” seems to be becoming the central slogan of Hindu nationalists. Delhi’s this violence has been the first one in which those getting killed are more due to bullets than by swords or knifes! Leader’s slogans do not go in vain! Courts the protectors of our Constitution seem to be of little help as if one of them like Murlidhar Rao gives the verdict to file against hate mongers, he is immediately transferred.

And lastly let’s recall the academic study of Yale University. It concludes; 'BJP gains in electoral strength after every riot'. In India the grip of communalism is increasing frighteningly. Efforts are needed to combat hate and hate mongers.       

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Preserve DNA samples, Videograph post mortems : Delhi HC to hospitals

07 Mar 2020

HospitalImage Courtesy: ommcomnews.com

In path breaking directives, the Delhi High Court has directed all government hospitals to videograph the post-mortem of those killed during the communal violence in north-east Delhi last week. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and I.S. Mehta asked authorities to collect and preserve DNA samples from all the bodies, and not to dispose of any unidentified body till March 11, the next date of hearing. The High Court’s directions came while hearing a habeas corpus petition by a man seeking details of his brother-in-law who went missing during the riots. Twenty-five-year-old Hamza went missing on February 26 evening. During the hearing, the police informed the court that Hamza’s body was recovered from a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar on March 2 and his autopsy would be conducted during the day at the RML Hospital. The court was also informed that after the autopsy, the body will be released to the family members.

In instances of mass targeted killing, it has been found that the medico legal procedures are found wanting with the state apparatus, especially the polic exerting undue pressure on doctors and hospital. Independent judicial scrutiny is therefore crucial and a must to ensure accountability and justice.

Preserve DNA samples, Videograph post mortems : Delhi HC to hospitals

HospitalImage Courtesy: ommcomnews.com

In path breaking directives, the Delhi High Court has directed all government hospitals to videograph the post-mortem of those killed during the communal violence in north-east Delhi last week. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and I.S. Mehta asked authorities to collect and preserve DNA samples from all the bodies, and not to dispose of any unidentified body till March 11, the next date of hearing. The High Court’s directions came while hearing a habeas corpus petition by a man seeking details of his brother-in-law who went missing during the riots. Twenty-five-year-old Hamza went missing on February 26 evening. During the hearing, the police informed the court that Hamza’s body was recovered from a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar on March 2 and his autopsy would be conducted during the day at the RML Hospital. The court was also informed that after the autopsy, the body will be released to the family members.

In instances of mass targeted killing, it has been found that the medico legal procedures are found wanting with the state apparatus, especially the polic exerting undue pressure on doctors and hospital. Independent judicial scrutiny is therefore crucial and a must to ensure accountability and justice.

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UP police go door-to-door; puts up hoardings of alleged anti-CAA protesters in town

The UP police and administration are resorting to scare tactics and allegedly warning people against participating in anti-CAA protests

07 Mar 2020

UP PoliceImage Courtesy: indianexpress.com

After allegedly inflicting violence on the people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Uttar Pradesh police are now resorting to ‘scare tactics’ and warning them of consequences of participating in such further protests.

Door-to-door warnings

According to The Telegraph India, the cops carry lists of alleged anti-CAA protestors and their addresses, questioning locals of their whereabouts, houses, size of families, who and where they are and their age and profession. Speaking to the publication, a senior police officer said that the scare campaign was meant to “make the people aware the police might act against them if they don’t stop the protests.”

The women, who have been staging a sit-in have also complained about the police barging into their homes and asking for information on their husbands and children and bullying them into ending the protests. A woman resident of the Kotwali area who was reportedly questioned by a dozen policemen said, “The policemen intimidate us by unnecessarily knocking at our doors. They came to my house on Thursday afternoon and asked the names of my husband and father-in-law. They alleged that my husband had been involved in anti-CAA violence in December and February. My husband supplies food to the Shah Jama Idgah (site of the largest dharna in Aligarh) but never participated in any protest.” She also added that the police had asked for the names of her two children and “jotted them down on the register”.

However, this latest drive from the police comes after they promised not to harass protesters or their families without any evidence of their direct involvement in the violence. In a bid to vacate the Quarsi Road Bypass in Aligarh City on March 1, the circle officer Anil Samania had declared, “No action will be taken against the protesters without a proper enquiry.”

But now, the Additional City Magistrate, Aligarh, Ranjeet Singh has claimed that the campaign was undertaken to reassure the women who have complained that they are threatened and forced to join the dharnas.

He said, “Many women had complained that criminals were forcing them to participate in the protests. So we started the door-to-door campaign to interact with households and prevent any unpleasant situation. (During the visits) some women said their husbands too were forcing them against their wishes to join the dharna.” He added, “We are collecting the names of the provocateurs and will summon them to police stations and warn them. We have served notices to 250 people and are identifying more.”

However, debunking the claim of the Additional City Magistrate, a senior police officer in Lucknow said that the force was merely doing “community policing to keep people away from the anti-CAA protests”, adding that it was a “preemptive measure to prevent the protesters from occupying any new place in the city”. “We are doing this at many places, including Aligarh, Allahabad and Sambhal,” he said.

Public shaming

Not only has the government gone door-to-door to warn the protesters to not participate in anti-CAA agitations, but it has also put up posters and hoardings throughout the state capital of Lucknow of alleged anti-CAA protestors; around 57 of them, with their names, addresses and photographs accusing them to be a part of the violence during the protests. The content of the hoardings show that these allege protesters have been asked to pay compensation for damage to public property that took place during the violence at the protest last year in December. The hoardings also say that if these people fail to pay up, their properties will be confiscated. The total amount of damage to property listed in the hoardings is up to Rs. 1.55 crore.

While legal experts say that the move of the government is illegal because property can only be confiscated after a criminal trial, the activists whose names and addresses have been put up all across town now fear for the safety of themselves and their families. Speaking with News Click, Robin Sharma of the Rihai Manch whose name appeared on the hoardings said, “The matter is still in the court. This is strange. What if my house is attacked by anti-social elements? If anything like that happens then Lucknow police and administration will be fully responsible for it.”

Social activist Deepak Kabir too in a video statement said, “We were arrested, assaulted, sent to jail and then given bail. I got a recovery notice in jail and later they sent me a recovery order. You (the government) know our addresses, we have the notice. Then why this? Is this to create fear? This is nothing but a new tactic to create pressure on us.”

Sadaf Jafar, the only woman who appears on the hoardings and who had spoken of the brutal ill-treatment by the prison authorities when they had taken her into custody said, “This has made us more vulnerable now. Making our addresses public may invite a mob and this is not at all justified. I feel scared now. This step was not at all required since the matter is in court, and we all have been appearing in the courts when asked to.”

Former IPS officer SR Darapuri also said that the government was trying to name and shame them and inviting a mob to lynch them. Speaking to News Click he said, “If they (the state government) are gearing up to confiscate anyone's property, then they have to send them a notice, but they did not do so. When this case is already challenged in SC and the High Court has put stay on it, how can the government do this to us?”

The violence in Uttar Pradesh claimed 21 lives, more than 1,100 people were arrested and 5,558 people were kept in preventive detention. UP CM Yogi Adityanath had earlier said in December that the state government would take revenge against those involved in the violence and auction off the properties of those accused to compensate for the losses.

Related:

Delhi violence: What happened in Khureji Khas?
UP admin sends third recovery notice for damage to property in anti-CAA protest
Is Adityanath at war with his own state’s citizens?

UP police go door-to-door; puts up hoardings of alleged anti-CAA protesters in town

The UP police and administration are resorting to scare tactics and allegedly warning people against participating in anti-CAA protests

UP PoliceImage Courtesy: indianexpress.com

After allegedly inflicting violence on the people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Uttar Pradesh police are now resorting to ‘scare tactics’ and warning them of consequences of participating in such further protests.

Door-to-door warnings

According to The Telegraph India, the cops carry lists of alleged anti-CAA protestors and their addresses, questioning locals of their whereabouts, houses, size of families, who and where they are and their age and profession. Speaking to the publication, a senior police officer said that the scare campaign was meant to “make the people aware the police might act against them if they don’t stop the protests.”

The women, who have been staging a sit-in have also complained about the police barging into their homes and asking for information on their husbands and children and bullying them into ending the protests. A woman resident of the Kotwali area who was reportedly questioned by a dozen policemen said, “The policemen intimidate us by unnecessarily knocking at our doors. They came to my house on Thursday afternoon and asked the names of my husband and father-in-law. They alleged that my husband had been involved in anti-CAA violence in December and February. My husband supplies food to the Shah Jama Idgah (site of the largest dharna in Aligarh) but never participated in any protest.” She also added that the police had asked for the names of her two children and “jotted them down on the register”.

However, this latest drive from the police comes after they promised not to harass protesters or their families without any evidence of their direct involvement in the violence. In a bid to vacate the Quarsi Road Bypass in Aligarh City on March 1, the circle officer Anil Samania had declared, “No action will be taken against the protesters without a proper enquiry.”

But now, the Additional City Magistrate, Aligarh, Ranjeet Singh has claimed that the campaign was undertaken to reassure the women who have complained that they are threatened and forced to join the dharnas.

He said, “Many women had complained that criminals were forcing them to participate in the protests. So we started the door-to-door campaign to interact with households and prevent any unpleasant situation. (During the visits) some women said their husbands too were forcing them against their wishes to join the dharna.” He added, “We are collecting the names of the provocateurs and will summon them to police stations and warn them. We have served notices to 250 people and are identifying more.”

However, debunking the claim of the Additional City Magistrate, a senior police officer in Lucknow said that the force was merely doing “community policing to keep people away from the anti-CAA protests”, adding that it was a “preemptive measure to prevent the protesters from occupying any new place in the city”. “We are doing this at many places, including Aligarh, Allahabad and Sambhal,” he said.

Public shaming

Not only has the government gone door-to-door to warn the protesters to not participate in anti-CAA agitations, but it has also put up posters and hoardings throughout the state capital of Lucknow of alleged anti-CAA protestors; around 57 of them, with their names, addresses and photographs accusing them to be a part of the violence during the protests. The content of the hoardings show that these allege protesters have been asked to pay compensation for damage to public property that took place during the violence at the protest last year in December. The hoardings also say that if these people fail to pay up, their properties will be confiscated. The total amount of damage to property listed in the hoardings is up to Rs. 1.55 crore.

While legal experts say that the move of the government is illegal because property can only be confiscated after a criminal trial, the activists whose names and addresses have been put up all across town now fear for the safety of themselves and their families. Speaking with News Click, Robin Sharma of the Rihai Manch whose name appeared on the hoardings said, “The matter is still in the court. This is strange. What if my house is attacked by anti-social elements? If anything like that happens then Lucknow police and administration will be fully responsible for it.”

Social activist Deepak Kabir too in a video statement said, “We were arrested, assaulted, sent to jail and then given bail. I got a recovery notice in jail and later they sent me a recovery order. You (the government) know our addresses, we have the notice. Then why this? Is this to create fear? This is nothing but a new tactic to create pressure on us.”

Sadaf Jafar, the only woman who appears on the hoardings and who had spoken of the brutal ill-treatment by the prison authorities when they had taken her into custody said, “This has made us more vulnerable now. Making our addresses public may invite a mob and this is not at all justified. I feel scared now. This step was not at all required since the matter is in court, and we all have been appearing in the courts when asked to.”

Former IPS officer SR Darapuri also said that the government was trying to name and shame them and inviting a mob to lynch them. Speaking to News Click he said, “If they (the state government) are gearing up to confiscate anyone's property, then they have to send them a notice, but they did not do so. When this case is already challenged in SC and the High Court has put stay on it, how can the government do this to us?”

The violence in Uttar Pradesh claimed 21 lives, more than 1,100 people were arrested and 5,558 people were kept in preventive detention. UP CM Yogi Adityanath had earlier said in December that the state government would take revenge against those involved in the violence and auction off the properties of those accused to compensate for the losses.

Related:

Delhi violence: What happened in Khureji Khas?
UP admin sends third recovery notice for damage to property in anti-CAA protest
Is Adityanath at war with his own state’s citizens?

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Delhi violence: What happened in Khureji Khas?

Fact-finding report by team of lawyers makes serious allegations against the police based on eyewitness accounts.

07 Mar 2020

Delhi ViolenceImage Courtesy: indiatvnews.com

The Khureji Khas neighbourhood in North East Delhi has been in the eye of the storm of communal violence raging through the area. In fact, Khureji Khas was in the news along with Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura as reports of some of the worst kind of mob violence came from these neighbourhoods. Intelligence Bureau (IB) employee Ankit Sharma was allegedly killed by mobs in this area. Moreover, petrol bombs, large stones and acid pouches were recovered from the roof of a property owned by now suspended AAP MLA Tahir Hussain from the same region.

On February 25, police conducted a flag march in the area to control the violence. After the flag march on February 25 that was led by Special Commissioners of Police Satish Golcha and Praveer Ranjan, Golcha (Special Commissioner – Law&Order – Northern Range) had told India Today, “We are taking appropriate actions. The required force is being used. Tear gas and mild lathicharge has been used to control the crowd. We will detain the miscreants and appropriate action will be taken against them.”

On February 26, the protesters at the site were cleared away. It is around this time that a series of serious allegations have been made against the police; from brutally physically assaulting people, to breaking CCTVs and even manhandling women! These instances have been documented by several reputed publications such as Scroll in this report and The Wire in this report. Though there are several videos of these excesses being committed by the police, the Delhi Police are yet to issue an official statement on the subject.

Now, a group of lawyers under the umbrella of Lawyers Against Atrocities have published a report based on their findings, where a series of very serious allegations have been made against the police, based on eyewitness accounts of people the lawyers spoke to during the course of the fact-finding exercise.

The report traces the genesis of the sit in protest at the site stating, “On the 23rd of February 2020, responding to the Bhim Army’s call for a Bharat Bandh, the people of Khureji Khas conducted a sit-in protest on the Patparganj Road. On request from police officials to allow for the flow of vehicular traffic, the protesters complied by first allowing road access to the nearby Vivekananda Yogashram, then vacating half the road by the night of 23rd February and finally the entire road by noon of the following day. Despite returning to the protest site to continue the peaceful protest, heavy police deployment continued in Khureji Khas. On Monday and Tuesday (24th and 25th of February), the Delhi Police were a constant presence at the protest site. Lining the roads, the police intimidated protestors, especially women.”

The report then goes on to state what happened when the police tried to allegedly forcibly evict the protesters, “Suddenly without provocation, on the morning of 26th February 2020, the police personnel, many of whom did not bear their name tag, stormed into the protest site brandishing and discharging firearms and proceeded to evict the protestors, beating and injuring several in the process. It is reported that during this process, the police were seen destroying CCTV cameras, notably the one in front of the Hindustan Petroleum Pump. The police arrested several protestors, from the protest site and from their homes including Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Mohammed Salim, Vikram Pratap, Salim Ansari and Sabhu Ansari among others taking them to the Jagatpuri Police Station.”

The report also highlights other alleged instances of police excesses stating, “While conducting raids in the locality, police are reported to have discharged their weapons twice at the entrance of the Jama Masjid Road. That evening, when lawyers arrived at Jagatpuri Police Station to enquire about the arrested, the police were verbally and physically abusive towards them. More arrests are reported to have occurred on the night of 26th January 2020 and then over the next two days, with police raiding homes of numerous residents and arbitrarily picking up people, including several minors, from the streets.”

The report presents case studies of many violence affected people in the neighbourhood and highlights their allegations of abuse of power by the police. It goes on to make the following demands:

1.            Immediate release of all those arrested and detained from Khureji since February 26th 2020 and dropping of charges against those arbitrarily picked up.

2.            Immediate investigation into police action in the area through SIT or an independent magisterial enquiry.

3.            Withdrawal of police deployment in the area and peaceful resumption of dialogue with the residents.

4.            Strict action against police personnel found participating in the beatings of peaceful protestors, breaking of CCTV cameras and molesting women in the area.

The entire report may be read here:

Delhi violence: What happened in Khureji Khas?

Fact-finding report by team of lawyers makes serious allegations against the police based on eyewitness accounts.

Delhi ViolenceImage Courtesy: indiatvnews.com

The Khureji Khas neighbourhood in North East Delhi has been in the eye of the storm of communal violence raging through the area. In fact, Khureji Khas was in the news along with Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura as reports of some of the worst kind of mob violence came from these neighbourhoods. Intelligence Bureau (IB) employee Ankit Sharma was allegedly killed by mobs in this area. Moreover, petrol bombs, large stones and acid pouches were recovered from the roof of a property owned by now suspended AAP MLA Tahir Hussain from the same region.

On February 25, police conducted a flag march in the area to control the violence. After the flag march on February 25 that was led by Special Commissioners of Police Satish Golcha and Praveer Ranjan, Golcha (Special Commissioner – Law&Order – Northern Range) had told India Today, “We are taking appropriate actions. The required force is being used. Tear gas and mild lathicharge has been used to control the crowd. We will detain the miscreants and appropriate action will be taken against them.”

On February 26, the protesters at the site were cleared away. It is around this time that a series of serious allegations have been made against the police; from brutally physically assaulting people, to breaking CCTVs and even manhandling women! These instances have been documented by several reputed publications such as Scroll in this report and The Wire in this report. Though there are several videos of these excesses being committed by the police, the Delhi Police are yet to issue an official statement on the subject.

Now, a group of lawyers under the umbrella of Lawyers Against Atrocities have published a report based on their findings, where a series of very serious allegations have been made against the police, based on eyewitness accounts of people the lawyers spoke to during the course of the fact-finding exercise.

The report traces the genesis of the sit in protest at the site stating, “On the 23rd of February 2020, responding to the Bhim Army’s call for a Bharat Bandh, the people of Khureji Khas conducted a sit-in protest on the Patparganj Road. On request from police officials to allow for the flow of vehicular traffic, the protesters complied by first allowing road access to the nearby Vivekananda Yogashram, then vacating half the road by the night of 23rd February and finally the entire road by noon of the following day. Despite returning to the protest site to continue the peaceful protest, heavy police deployment continued in Khureji Khas. On Monday and Tuesday (24th and 25th of February), the Delhi Police were a constant presence at the protest site. Lining the roads, the police intimidated protestors, especially women.”

The report then goes on to state what happened when the police tried to allegedly forcibly evict the protesters, “Suddenly without provocation, on the morning of 26th February 2020, the police personnel, many of whom did not bear their name tag, stormed into the protest site brandishing and discharging firearms and proceeded to evict the protestors, beating and injuring several in the process. It is reported that during this process, the police were seen destroying CCTV cameras, notably the one in front of the Hindustan Petroleum Pump. The police arrested several protestors, from the protest site and from their homes including Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Mohammed Salim, Vikram Pratap, Salim Ansari and Sabhu Ansari among others taking them to the Jagatpuri Police Station.”

The report also highlights other alleged instances of police excesses stating, “While conducting raids in the locality, police are reported to have discharged their weapons twice at the entrance of the Jama Masjid Road. That evening, when lawyers arrived at Jagatpuri Police Station to enquire about the arrested, the police were verbally and physically abusive towards them. More arrests are reported to have occurred on the night of 26th January 2020 and then over the next two days, with police raiding homes of numerous residents and arbitrarily picking up people, including several minors, from the streets.”

The report presents case studies of many violence affected people in the neighbourhood and highlights their allegations of abuse of power by the police. It goes on to make the following demands:

1.            Immediate release of all those arrested and detained from Khureji since February 26th 2020 and dropping of charges against those arbitrarily picked up.

2.            Immediate investigation into police action in the area through SIT or an independent magisterial enquiry.

3.            Withdrawal of police deployment in the area and peaceful resumption of dialogue with the residents.

4.            Strict action against police personnel found participating in the beatings of peaceful protestors, breaking of CCTV cameras and molesting women in the area.

The entire report may be read here:

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