The report sheds light on the collusion between state and non-state actors in a planned and targeted attack on members of the Muslim community in India’s capital Delhi.
A fact finding report on February’s north-east Delhi riots points fingers at BJP leaders for allegedly “inciting” people through speeches during the Assembly elections.
The 2020 Delhi riots, or North East Delhi riots, saw multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting in the capital’s northeastern part, beginning on 23 February and caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims.
“I woke up to ‘Mullon ko maaron (Kill the Muslims!)’ and ‘Hum Denge Azaadi’ chants…In front of me, they threw acid on a young girl’s face,” a woman said.
A similar pattern of violence, revenge against a community and assault as a means for the dominant communities to exercise their power and control, had emerged in Gujarat in 2002, and Muzaffarnagar in 2013, independent observers say.
The 130-page report, in its findings alleged “inaction” and complicity on part of the capital’s police.
More than 50 lives were lost besides injuries to hundreds of people and rendering Muslim-owned small businesses and homes affected.
The key findings of the report prepared by Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) noted “repeated incitement” to violence — it has already been submitted to Indian capital city’s Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“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 statement said.
“Violence broke out in different pockets in North East Delhi almost immediately after an instigating speech by 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, organized and targeted”.
Burqas, All ‘Markers of Muslimness’ Targeted, Report Details Women’s Plight in Delhi Riots
“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.
Muslim women lost their social and financial security, their houses were looted and burned and their jewelry, documents, money, among other valuables, were taken by the assailants.
“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.
The report said, “Any markers of ‘muslimness’ were attacked by the mob.”
The report further said that the mob threw acid on women and children. Several women also said that Muslims were constantly referred to as ‘terrorists’, ‘anti-national’ and ‘foreigners’ by the mob.
The testimonies of victims also alleged delayed FIRs, police “complicity” in “abetting” attacks including on women, the report stated.
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.