A fact-finding committee constituted by the Delhi Minorities Commission to look into the February riots in north-east Delhi has claimed that the violence followed an “organised and systematic pattern” and did not have the spontaneity of a riot.
The findings of the 10-member committee suggest that the failure to prevent violence by Delhi police “was not due to individual or sporadic breaches, but was a pattern of deliberate inaction over several days”. The report claims that efforts have been made to change the narrative “to one of violence on both sides rather than a pogrom that was in fact carried out”.
The report says the entire chain of events is missing from most of the chargesheets that have been filed and that the police are investigating almost all the cases based on the premise that the riots were planned by anti-CAA protesters to coincide with the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India.
The findings of the committee headed by M.R. Shamshad, Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court, says that the violence that occurred between February 23 and 26 started in different pockets in the area almost immediately after a short speech given by BJP leader Kapil Mishra at Maujpur in the presence of DCP (North East district) Ved Prakash Surya. “Following the speech, different groups/mobs quickly fanned out to the local areas, openly carrying various weapons and actions were not taken by the district administration or the police to protect life and property,” the report says. It adds that testimonies reveal that the attacks were selectively targeted towards the Muslim population of the area and barring one incident, there have not been reports of Muslims being armed with weapons other than stones.
Reacting to the report, Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said each and every report was registered and investigated professionally, leading to the registration of 752 FIRs. Over 400 of the 752 cases were registered on complaints lodged by the members of the minority community, he said.
“We will study this report and if there are any corrective measures that need to be taken, we will absolutely do that,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.