Communal violence at Delhi’s Jahangirpuri: CPI(M) leaders appeal to Delhi police to ensure fair probe

COMMUNIST Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Politburo member, Brinda Karat and Secretary of Delhi State Committee of CPI(M), K.M. Tewari wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana questioning the role of the police during the recent communal violence in Delhi.

In a letter to Asthana, they highlighted the video evidence, as well as eyewitnesses’ reports, pointing to the youth wing of the Bajrang Dal openly demonstrating with swords, lathhis, and firearms.

On April 16, violence broke out between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the Jahangirpuri area of Delhi during the Hanuman Jayanti procession. Several police officers were reportedly injured in the course of the violence.

Karat and Tewari asked Asthana whether the police gave permission to carry arms. They also enquired whether the Delhi police has identified the persons in the processions who were carrying arms, and if so, whether they have been arrested under the relevant provisions of law, including the Arms Act. Karat and Tewari urged the Delhi police to investigate who was accountable for allowing an armed procession to stop in front of a mosque, shouting provocative and aggressive slogans at the exact time when the prayers to break the Roza (an Urdu synonym to fasting) fast were scheduled to begin.

They referred to the raiding of C Block of the Janagirpuri area, and the resulting assault of women by male police officers during the night, and alleged that clear biases of the police officers were witnessed during the press conference held by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders within the Jahangirpuri Police Station’s compound.

Bringing to light the history of harmony between the two communities in the area, the letter brings to light the lack of accountability of senior police officers. It claims that the communal violence could have been completely avoided “if action had been taken against weapon carrying processionists, if the procession had not been allowed to stop in front of the mosque”. Karat and Tiwari, in their letter, emphasize the disturbingly high number of arrests of the members of the minority community, which stands in clear contradiction to the turn of events on the day of procession.

In conclusion, the letter addresses the problematic nature of impunity, and thereby appeals to the Delhi Police Commissioner to ensure accountability of the police personnel “(1) who allowed the procession to carry weapons; (2) who were responsible for lack of adequate arrangements; (3) who permitted the procession to stop in front of the mosque; and (4) who are conducting a one -sided biased investigation.”

A copy of the complete letter can be viewed here.