BJP Leaders Incited People: Delhi Minorities Commission's Report On February Riots

The report stated that testimonies of affected people revealed that the violence was not spontaneous like a 'riot', it was 'planned, organised and targeted'.

BJP Leaders Incited People: Delhi Minorities Commission's Report On February Riots

A fact finding report on the north-east Delhi riots released on Thursday by the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) pointed fingers at BJP leaders for allegedly "inciting" people through speeches during the Assembly elections.

Rubbishing the report, Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana accused the minorities panel of levelling baseless allegations against the saffron party.  

The 130-page report, already submitted to Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in its findings also alleged "inaction" on the part of Delhi Police.

Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said, "We have not received any report from the Delhi Minorities Commission so far".

The police said they have a robust public grievance redressal system. They had also launched helpline numbers in this regard for those who want to lodge their complaints or to address their issues of concern.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana denounced the report.

"This is a political report. Does it mention councillor Tahir Hussain who is in jail in connection with the riots?" he asked. 

Stressing that the police has said that BJP leaders had no role in the riots, Khurana accused the minorities commission of levelling baseless allegations against the saffron party. 

"They should respect the law and let it take its own course," Khurana said.

The report was released at the DMC office here by chairman of the Commission, Zafarul Islam Khan, and MR Shamshad who headed the 10-member fact finding committee.

The key findings of the report noted "repeated incitement" to violence.

"Throughout the Delhi Assembly elections campaign from December 2019 to February 2020, there were a number of speeches by Delhi BJP leaders inciting people to violence against anti-CAA protesters," a DMC statement said.

"Violence broke out in different pockets in North East Delhi almost immediately after instigating speech of Kapil Mishra on February 23 at Maujpur, in which he openly called for forcefully removing the (anti-CAA) protesters at Jafarabad," it said.

Mishra, a BJP leader from north-east Delhi's Karawal Nagar could not be contacted for his comment.

The report stated that testimonies of affected people revealed that the violence was not spontaneous like a "riot", it was "planned, organised and targeted".

"In several areas of North East Delhi, properties owned by Muslims were looted, burnt and completely destroyed. Armed mobs chanting slogans selectively attacked Muslim individuals, houses, shops, vehicles, mosques and other properties," the statement said.

The violence claimed over 50 lives besides injuries to scores of people. 

"Multiple testimonies collected by the fact finding committee recount reports of police inaction even as violence unfolded, or of police not reaching despite repeated calls on emergency call number," it said.

Police claimed that the majority of the cases were registered on the complaint of people from the minority community.

"Delhi Police maintains that all cases are being investigated in a fair and professional manner," said Mittal, the Delhi Police PRO.

The testimonies of victims also alleged delayed FIRs, police "complicity" in "abetting" attacks including on women, the report stated.

Mittal said Delhi Police has rather encouraged people to come forward and lodge their complaints. Wide advertisements were also issued in newspapers in this regard, he said.

The police officer said three Special Investigation Teams were also formed to investigate the cases of murder. A special court and special prosecutor have also been appointed to look into the cases, he said. 

Besides, a claim commissioner has also been appointed look into damage estimate and recovery, he said.

In total, 752 cases were registered in connection with February's riots, the highest so far in any riots, Delhi Police claimed.

As many as 1,470 accused have been arrested in connection with the riots and chargesheets have been filed in around 200 cases so far. Out of the total cases registered, 372 cases have been worked out so far, the Delhi Police PRO added.

The report also noted that even after four months of the violence, verification process for compensation to the riot victims has not been completed in many cases.

"In many cases, after verification very small amount of interim compensation has been paid," claimed the report.

The committee was open to testimonies of all affected people, including those from the majority community, but they did not approach it, said Shamshad.

The report recommended that the government form a five-member committee, headed by a retired High Court judge, to ensure proper registration of FIRs, recording of statements of victims, chargesheet review, probe of Delhi Police role, compensation to all the victims.

It also recommended deputing trial court advocates to render legal aid to the victims.