Activists, Retired Bureaucrats Write To President Kovind, Demand Judicial Probe Into Delhi Riots
Rasheeduddin Khaja | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JULY 19—Several former bureaucrats, retired IPS officials and social activists have written a letter to President Ramnath Kovind, seeking a judicial inquiry into the communal violence in Northeast Delhi that took place in February this year claiming 53 lives, mostly Muslims.
They have demanded the probe by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court or a high court under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.
They have written the letter after the Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) on July 8 wrote an official letter to police investigators to take precaution while arresting Hindus in connection with the riots because arrest of some Hindus youths had caused a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community”. The Delhi Minorities Commission, in its report released on July 16, alleged police complicity into the riots and recommended a probe into it.
Stating that “with serious allegations against several senior police officials of being complicit in the violence or assisting the mobs or standing mutely and watching the violence, there is bound to be perception that the agency is shielding its own”, the letter urged the President to ensure that “officers accused of being complicit in the violence are not involved in the investigation by the Delhi police”.
The Delhi police have set up three Special Investigation Teams (SITs) led by its officials to probe the Northeast Delhi violence, besides the Delhi Special Cell probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the riots. “There are, however, serious questions about the role played by the Delhi police during the violence, with allegations of the police deliberately not preventing violence and in some places, even being complicit in it”, says the letter.
Pointing out that “a credible and unbiased probe is crucial to ensure public trust”, the letter to the President exhorted that the “investigation cannot be allowed to become a fishing and roving expedition aimed at causing a chilling effect on dissent and protest in the country”.
“The notable silence in the chargesheets on the role of BJP leaders who gave the inflammatory speeches which were publicly documented including a call to “shoot the traitors” raise serious concern about the impartiality of the probe”, points out the letter.
The signatories to the letter said that “a free and fair investigation is important to ensure that those who instigated and caused the violence are prosecuted”.
The letter has referred to several incidents of police having being caught on videos beating and hitting the Muslim youths and taunting them about the ‘Azaadi’ slogan which was used at the protests and sit-ins against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The letter has also mentioned the incident of a 23-year-old Faizan having been assaulted and illegally detained by the police for 36 hours and denied medical treatment. Faizan succumbed to his injuries after a few days.
They have also supplied video evidence with regard to policemen directing mobs to pelt stones or looking the other way when the mobs were indulging in violence in front of them at Khureji anti-CAA protest site. “To our knowledge, no inquiry or investigation has been set up by the Delhi police to probe the role of policemen, despite these videos publicly available and also highlighted by the media”, the letter says.
Quoting a report from the Caravan portal, the letter has drawn attention towards no action taken on complaints against police officials. “At least one deputy commissioner, two additional commissioners and two station house officers of the Delhi police participated in criminal intimidation, unprovoked firing, arson and looting during the violence that swept Northeast Delhi in late February, according to complaints filed by eyewitnesses”, the letter says, quoting the Caravan report.
It also speaks about a DCP, who mutely stood next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protesters warning them that it did not vacate the area, he would do it himself.
The letter has also raised the issue of custodial torture of social activist Khalid Saifi who was picked up by police on February 26. When he was produced before the magistrate, both of his legs were fractured.
The letter also mentions the failure of the police to register FIRs against BJP leaders-Kapil Mishra, Satya Pal Singh, Jagdish Pradhan, Nand Kishore Gujjar and Mohan Singh-allegedly leading mobs in Delhi violence.
The letter has discussed in detail how the police have criminalised the protests against the CAA, portraying the protests as conspiracy that resulted in Delhi violence. “The chronology described by the police in the chargesheets, which are publicly available, chronicle the various sit-ins in Delhi and speeches by social activists as though each of these was a build up towards the riots”, says the letter.
“The criminalization of CAA protest and presenting it as a part of a conspiracy by the Delhi police is completely unwarranted”, says the letter.
It said that the youths linked with anti-CAA protests and arrested in connection with riots, have also been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). This has been done to ensure that they are not able to get bail.
The letter has been signed by :
1. A. Selvaraj, IRS (Retd.), Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI
2. Abhijit Sengupta, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
3. Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
4. Alok Perti, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
5. Amitabha Pande, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
6. Anjali Bhardwaj, Social activist
7. Ardhendu Sen, IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
8. Arif Ghauri, IRS (Retd.), Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom
9. Aruna Roy, Social activist
10. Ashok Kumar Sharma, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
11. Ashok Sharma, IFS, Kirti Chakra
12. Ashok Vajpeyi, IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi
13. Avinash Mohananey, IPS (Retd.), Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim
14. Brijesh Kumar, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
15. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
16. Deb Mukharji, IFS (Retd.), Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
17. Deepak Sanan, IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh
18. EAS Sarma, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary to GOI
19. G. Balachandhran, IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
20. G.Sankaran, Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal
21. Gopalan Balagopal, IAS (Retd.), Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
22. Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director, People’s Watch & National Working Secretary, Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India ( HRDA)
23. Hindal Tyabji, IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
24. Jawhar Sircar, Former Union Culture Secretary & Ex CEO, Prasar Bharati
25. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
26. Julio Ribeiro, IPS (Retd.), Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
27. K. John Koshy, IAS (Retd.), Former State Chief Information, Commissioner, West Bengal
28. K. Saleem Ali, IPS (Retd.), Former Special Director, CBI, GoI
29. K. Sujatha Rao, IAS (Retd.), Former Health Secretary, GoI
30. K.P. Fabian, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Italy
31. Kalyani Chaudhuri, IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
32. Kamal Jaswal, IAS (Retd.), Secretary to GOI
33. M.G. Devasahayam, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
34. Madhu Bhaduri, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Portugal
35. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
36. N.C. Saxena, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
37. Nagalsamy, IA&AS (Retd.), Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
38. Narendra Sisodia, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
39. Navrekha Sharma, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Indonesia
40. Neera Chandhoke Distinguished Fellow Centre for Equity Studies
41. Nikhil Dey, social activist
42. Niranjan Pant, IA&AS (Retd.), Former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, GoI
43. P. Sainath, senior journalist
44. P.G.J. Nampoothiri, IPS (Retd.), Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
45. P.K. Lahiri, IAS (Retd.), Former Executive Director, Asian Development Bank
46. P.R. Dasgupta, IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
47. P.S.S. Thomas, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
48. Prabhat Patnaik, Emeritus professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
49. Pranab S. Mukhopadhyay, IAS (Retd.), Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
50. Prashant Bhushan, advocate, Supreme Court
51. Rachel Chatterjee, IAS (Retd.), Former Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
52. Rahul Khullar, IAS (Retd.), FormerChairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
53. Raju Sharma, IAS (Retd.), Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
54. Rana Banerji, IAS (Retd.), Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), GoI
55. S.P. Ambrose, IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
56. ShafiAlam, IPS (Retd.), Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI
57. Shailesh Gandhi, RTI activist and former Information Commissioner of CIC
58. Sharad Behar, IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
59. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, IFS (Retd.), Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
60. Sonalini Mirchandani, IFS, (Resigned), GoI
61. Subodh Lal, IPoS (Resigned), Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications
62. Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
63. Surendra Nath, IAS (retd.)
64. Suresh K. Goel, IFS (Retd.), Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
65. Sushil Dubey, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Sweden
66. Syeda Hameed, Former member, Planning Commission
67. V.P. Raja, IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
68. Vappala Balachandran, IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
69. Vibha Puri Das, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
70. Vijaya Latha Reddy, IFS (Retd.), Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
71. Vipul Mudgal, activist and media scholar
72. Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner of CIC