Delhi Riots: Delhi Minorities Commission Fact-Finding Report releases

New Delhi, India: Delhi Minorities Commission’s Fact-Finding Report has been released. The report was released at the DMC office here by the chairman of the Commission, Zafarul Islam Khan, and MR Shamshad who headed the 10-member fact-finding committee. Delhi Police rejected the Report claiming that it has political motives.

The member of the FFT consist of Gurminder Singh Matharu (Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee), Tehmina Arora, Advocate (ADF India), Tanvir Kazi (human rights activist), Professor Haseena Hashia (Jamia Millia Islamia), Abubakr Sabbaq, Advocate, Saleem Baig (human rights activist), Devika Prasad (CHRI) and Aditi Dutta (CHRI).

Hereunder are pointers of a long report:

  • Delhi riots were organised on systematic pattern.
  • Muslim individuals as well as houses, shops, mosques and other properties belonging to Muslims were selectively attacked.
  • The violence was not ‘spontaneous’ like a riot aather it was ‘planned and targeted’.
  • Violence broke out shortly after Kapil Mishra’s speech on 23 February 2020 at Maujpur in which he openly called for forcefully removing the protestors at Jafrabad in North East Delhi. These threats were made in the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ved Prakash Surya.
  • Muslim women particularly were targeted. Many Muslim women reported how their hijab and burqa were pulled off, and communal taunts and slurs were hurled at them.
  • Muslim places of worship including 11 mosques, five madrasas, one shrine and one graveyard were attacked and damaged in the violence.
  • Copies of the Holy Qur’an were deliberately burned at several places.
  • Police officers were mostly ‘mute spectators’ to the violence and refused to help victims saying there were ‘no orders from above’.
  • In some places, Police officers are reported directly engaged in the violence.
  • Police delayed filing of FIRs, and where filed they were not acted upon. Many victims reported that police officers refused to register complaints that named the accused.
  • In some cases police have even arrested the victims themselves.
  • Mobs fanned out across the district targeting Muslims as they raised slogans ranging from “Jai Shri Ram” to “Har Har Modi”, “Modi ji, kaat do in mullon ko (Modi, cut these Muslims into pieces)” and “Aaj tumhe azadi denge (today, we will give you freedom)”.

 

Recommendations

The report has recommended forming of a five-member independent Committee chaired by a retired High Court judge with a mandate to:

(i) Ensure the proper and prompt registration of FIRs in all cases where complaints have not yet been converted into FIRs;

(ii) Ensure the recording of victims’ statements under Section 164 of CrPC;

(iii) Ensure witness and victim protection in accordance with the Delhi Witness Protection Scheme;

(iv) Review charge-sheets filed by the police in light of left-out facts, to be submitted to the relevant court;

(v) Establish the full extent of the complicity and abdication of duty by the Delhi Police in allowing the violence to take place, including command responsibility, as well as culpability for engaging in direct acts of violence – including sexual violence – through a written report supported by photographs, videos and other evidence as possible, to be submitted to the court;

(vi) Ensure that compensation is paid to all victims in a fair and time-bound manner;

(vii) Review the Delhi government’s Assistance Scheme for victims to access whether the compensation amounts under each category are proportionate to the quantum of harm, injury, and loss suffered and provide new formulations, if any, in a written report.

 The report further recommended that the Delhi Minorities Commission should:

  • Appoint a team of 2-3 experts to assist the Claims Commissioner, on behalf of the aggrieved persons who may need assistance.
  • Establish a team of 5-10 experienced trial court advocates, competent in the practice of the criminal law, in collaboration with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, to render legal services to the victims; ensure a gender balance in the team, and make sure special measures are taken to assist women and child victims, including for filing complaints of sexual violence against private persons and/or public officials. Assure women victims of effective legal representation, to pursue cases of sexual violence in accordance with their right to engage an advocate of their choice, to assist the prosecution.
  • Seek a legal opinion from a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge to assist the High Court in its determination on the direct and proximate nexus of the speeches and slogans raised by senior political leaders which led to breakout of violence.