A group of ex-IAS/IPS officers, academics, and activists have written to the President of India, Ramnath Kovind, seeking a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into the investigation of the communal violence in February 2020, North-East Delhi. The letter endorsed by 72 signatories, including Advocate Prashant Bhushan, has highlighted the allegations of police complicity in the North-East Delhi violence which primarily targeted Muslims.
The letter has asked for a probe under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by a sitting or retired judge(s) from the higher judiciary. Although three SITs set up by the Delhi Police are investigating the matter, the letter urges the need for an external, credible investigation considering the fact that the Delhi Police themselves have been accused of deliberate inaction in preventing violence and active complicity.
In the North-East Delhi communal violence between 23rd-26th February 2020, 53 official deaths were reported, although activists working on the ground suspect the number of victims to be higher. Videos have emerged which show policemen assaulting injured youths. The letter points out that, “the [FIR] registered by the Bhajanpura Police station makes no mention of the clearly documented video footage of the police assaulting Faizan and the Delhi police has not named any policemen as accused in the case”. In light of such bias by the police to protect their own, the signatories state that the investigations led by the Delhi Police do not inspire confidence.
The letter also states that the refusal by the police to pursue FIRs filed against BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra displays political bias. It highlights the persecution of anti-CAA protestors, on whom false allegations of inciting violence have been cast. The signatories to the letter added that “it is extremely concerning that the Delhi Police has refused to put nearly 700 FIRs registered by it in the public domain”. This lack of transparency “thwarts all attempts at public scrutiny as only the Police knows which complaints and allegations are being pursued and which continue to languish”, they stated.
First published by Live Law.