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Delhi riot ignition finger at Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath

Panel blames speeches by BJP leaders

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Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath

The Delhi Minorities Commission has accused Union home minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath and other BJP politicians of “fanning communal sentiments” through incendiary speeches before the February riots in the capital.

It has also alleged that “police were complicit and abetted the attacks” during the riots, which killed 53 people, and arrested victims rather than the people they accused.

One of the key charges in the panel’s report is that BJP leader Kapil Mishra, a former Delhi minister who lost the February 8 Assembly polls this year, triggered the riots through a speech in Maujpur on February 23.

The fact-finding committee, led by Supreme Court advocate-on-record M.R. Shamshad, submitted its report to the Delhi cabinet, the Speaker and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on July 13.

In a paragraph headlined “Delhi Legislative Assembly elections 2020: Incendiary campaign speeches and the fanning of communal sentiments in Delhi”, the report highlights speeches made by Shah, Adityanath, Mishra as well as Union ministers Giriraj Singh and Anurag Thakur, MPs Parvesh Verma and Tejasvi Surya, and other BJP campaigners.

It says: “The violence which broke out in northeast Delhi was clearly preceded by a number of speeches by BJP leaders openly maligning anti-CAA protesters and questioning their motives with no basis, making derogatory remarks laden with communal undertones and open threats of violence, and to cast the Shaheen Bagh protests, particularly, in a negative light to build an ‘anti-Shaheen Bagh’ narrative.”

Among the speeches cited in the report is one by Shah on January 27, where he said: “Your vote to BJP candidate will make Delhi and the country safe and prevent thousands of incidents like Shaheen Bagh.”

Adityanath is quoted as saying on February 2: “(Chief minister Arvind) Kejriwal and his mandali (clique) are trying to fan unrest and anarchy by tacitly supporting the Shaheen Bagh protests. These protests are nothing but a way for some section of people to show their objections against the scrapping of Article 370 and the construction of Lord Ram’s grand temple in Ayodhya.”

The Election Commission had censured Thakur – who had during a speech led chants of “shoot the traitors” — and Verma.

“Violence started in different pockets almost immediately after the short speech of Shri Kapil Mishra on 23 February 2020 at Maujpur in which he openly called for forcefully removing the protesters at Jaffrabad in northeast Delhi,” the panel report says.

“He clearly said that he and his supporters will take matters into their own hands, alluding to extralegal vigilante tactics, in saying: ‘But after that we will not listen to the police if roads are not cleared after three days….’”

The report says the authorities should have construed the open talk about not listening to the police and adopting extralegal tactics as incitement to violence.

“(The) deputy commissioner of police, North East district, Shri Ved Prakash Surya, was standing right next to Shri Kapil Mishra when he said: ‘After that we will not listen to the police’,” the report says.

“At this point, the police failed to apprehend and arrest Kapil Mishra and all those gathered to hear and cheer his speech. This indicates that they failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and (to) protect life and property.”

On February 27, Delhi High Court had played the speech in court for the police and encouraged the force to take action. On Monday, the police told the court that “no actionable evidence has surfaced yet indicating any role being played by” any prominent political leader in “instigating and/or participating in the riots”.

Mishra told this newspaper that he would respond in a couple of days. The national head of the BJP’s media department, Anil Baluni, did not respond to queries emailed by this newspaper.

“Police were also complicit and abetted the attacks. Where police did act, victims state that (other members of the) police stopped their colleagues when they attempted to disperse the crowd (‘do not stop them’),” the report says.

“In one incident, five Muslim boys were surrounded by 6-7 police officers and brutally beaten up while being asked to chant ‘Jana gana mana’. One of them died some days later. The FIR registered does not name any accused.”

It adds: “The Delhi police failed to exercise its prohibitory powers, under the Delhi Police Act, 1978, which enables the commissioner of police to promulgate orders prohibiting the carrying of weapons and arms, and the assembly of persons as ‘necessary for the preservation of public order’…. In spite of the serious nature of complaints, the police did not act upon FIRs filed.”

The report alleges that the police arrested the victims, especially those who named the accused in testimonies, and says: “Crucial aspects of the entire chain of events (is) missing from most of the chargesheets that have been filed till date and which could be accessed by the fact-finding committee.”

“We are yet to receive the report and can only respond after reading it,” Delhi police’s additional PRO, Anil Mittal, told The Telegraph.

“There was no laxity in registering cases or in investigations into the riots. The police encouraged people to lodge complaints and ran a helpline for those affected by the riots, and responded to them in a robust and effective manner. Even today, anyone with a complaint can inform us.”

Mittal said that 752 cases had been registered and probed by three special investigation teams, 372 had been solved and 200 chargesheets filed. He added that 1,470 people had been arrested.

The panel found that the “violence followed an organised and systematic pattern” and was “selectively targeted towards the Muslim population”.

Asked why it had recorded only Muslim victims’ testimonies when at least 13 Hindus too were killed, Shamshad told this newspaper that this was done to avoid repetition of what was already in the chargesheets.

“We took the statements of those who had responded to our advertisements, and went to the homes of victims that we were informed of. Our mobility was restricted because of the pandemic,” he said.

“The cases given priority by the police and the chargesheets they filed — like those against Shahrukh Pathan, (and the accused) in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma — extensively mention the testimonies of the victims that we were unable to record. We focused on telling the other side of the story.”

Pathan, a young man, was arrested after he allegedly pointed a gun at an unarmed policeman during the violence and fired. He did not hit anyone.

A councillor of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, Tahir Hussain, was arrested in connection with the killing of Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma during the riots.

The panel report has alleged that the compensation to the riot victims was “delayed and disproportionate to claims” and that many were yet to receive it more than four months after the violence.

Asked about this, a CMO official said: “We will study this report and if there are any corrective measures that need to be taken, we will absolutely do that.”

“The article was published on the The Telegraph

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Liquor mafia operating in Punjab, Centre should probe: Congress MP

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New Delhi, Sep 18 : Charging that a liquor mafia was operating in Punjab under political patronage, a Congress MP from the state on Friday demanded the Centre”s intervention and probe into the matter through the CBI or independent agencies.

Congress MP Shamsher Singh Dullo raised the matter during the Zero Hour in the Upper House of Parliament, saying “no action” has been taken in the matter despite 136 people losing their life in the state recently after consuming spurious liquor.

Dullo said, in the recent hooch tragedy in the state, 150 people were hospitalised in addition to 136 deaths.

While several people have turned blind after drinking spurious liquor, kidneys of many have been impacted but no action has been taken against the perpetrators of the crime, he said, demanding compensation for the family of those killed and impacted.

He charged that the “liquor mafia in the state was operating under political patronage” and there was a police nexus.

Nine illegal distilleries were being run and supplying liquor to neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh among other states, the MP said.

He said neighbouring countries were involved in it and demanded the Centre”s intervention to probe the issue through the CBI a retired high court judge or any independent agency so that culprits could be booked.

Dullo said he met the governor of the state but no action has been taken and that the matter pertains to inter-state illegal racket and theft of taxes.

Raising another issue during the Zero Hour, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) demanded 90 per cent representation in jobs to residents of the state in local enterprises, saying at present there is an unequal representation of states in Central government jobs.

In the recently conducted exams in the state for various central government undertakings including Chennai Petrol, the percentage of locals was minimum, he said.

In Tamil Nadu alone, 84 lakh people have registered themselves with employment exchanges and the percentage of unemployment was 7.6 per cent despite the youth there being qualified and securing top ranks in the UPSC, he said.

He also noted that highly qualified people had applied for the post of sanitary workers due to high unemployment in the state.

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DJ Halli violence: CSOs appeal Bengaluru police to widen probe

The Bengaluru City police are probing the incident and the violence that took place then at the streets of East Bengaluru on August 11, in which four were killed during police firing and several were injured.

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Bangalore: Alleging inaction by Facebook and the City Police, a fact-finding committee formed by several Bengaluru based civil society organisations (CSOs) appealed to the Bengaluru City Police to widen the scope of investigation against the alleged Facebook post believed to have led to the same.

The Bengaluru City police are probing the incident and the violence that took place then at the streets of East Bengaluru on August 11, in which four were killed during police firing and several were injured.

“The intelligence failure to predict and prevent the violence must be investigated,” the committee has strongly demanded in its report on the violence that ensued on the night of August 11th, 2020 titled ‘Communalising Violence in DJ Halli’.

“This report brings out several truths. This report is not the end, on its authority, we must inquire into the truth and find out who is behind the violence, and who all failed to act. There are people who profit from the riot as well. We must find out those who are responsible. We must further tolerance,” said (Retd.) Justice H.N. Nagmohan Das.

Adding to this, senior journalist Indudhara Honnapura said, “There was an opportunity to stop this, but Police failed to do so. Everyone, including the police, knew this is a sensitive area. There are many good officers, but I do not understand why they did not send sufficient police force to control the incident. Why didn’t the government provide information to the police?”

“Facebook has failed to act against Naveen’s post which amounts to hate speech. Besides the local police too showed laxity in handling the situation as a result of this, situation went out of their (Police) control,” the report alleged.

The committee further stated that there was an intelligence failure in the state machinery’s reaction to the incident, the police were responsible for a delayed response in registering the FIR against Naveen, which resulted in a discontent crowd swelling at the stations.

Denying allegations that the mob was communal or political in nature, the team comprising CSOs claimed that lack of substantial evidence to suggest that the mob violence was communal in nature, in that it specifically targeted the Hindu community or that it was premeditated and pre-planned.

“This is a local and spontaneous incident that has been taken advantage of by different political parties for immediate political gains which included the upcoming corporator elections in the state,” the committee observed.

“The police have carried out several arbitrary arrests in the middle of the night, which has created an atmosphere of fear in the areas. The families of those arrested have not been informed of the arrest or whereabouts of their loved ones,” the report stated.

The committee claimed that a larger agenda of total criminalisation and demonisation of the entire community has also been noted.

Besides this, the report also came down heavily on the several sections of media which have misportrayed the incident in a communal light by spinning conspiracy theories and targeting the Muslim community.

The fact-finding committee claimed that it inferred several facts on the incident, after a thorough inquiry into the incident, documenting several testimonies, and gathering evidence from all those involved across the spectrum.

Key findings by the committee:

1.) The Facebook post uploaded by accused P. Naveen, nephew of Pulkeshi Nagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy crosses the constitutional protection encompassing free-speech, and amounts to hate speech against the Muslim community, the committee noted.

2.) Further, it accused the police and the media of not sufficiently probing the intent and motive behind the post but focussing on the violence that followed the same instead.

3.) The mob violence appears to be not directed by any visible leadership. However, the role of the mob in attacking Devarajeevanahalli (D. J. Halli) and Kadugodanahalli (K. G. Halli) police stations and MLA Murthy’s residence in Kaval Byrasandra destroying public and private property is undeniable and unjustifiable.

Alleging police inaction, the committee observed that the cops failed to act swiftly and effectively on the post when small delegations approached the police station and to intervene in effective ways to prevent the violence from escalating in the areas.

The report added that the perceived delay in lodging the FIR, and the failure to assure firm legal action and the perception that this was due to the MLA’s intervention cannot be ignored.

The imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure) has been termed a ubiquitous punishment to those in the areas, who allegedly met with verbal and physical abuse when they attempted to leave their homes.

The fact-finding team was comprised former chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Nina Nayak, independent journalist Cynthia Stephen and 21 others including lawyers, civic activists, representatives of various CSOs and policy researchers a” has urged the state government to form peace committees including all communities to restore peace in the areas.

Earlier about two weeks ago another fact finding report was submitted by ‘Citizens for Democracy’, a platform of responsible citizens – which reportedly has a backing of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh claims to be committed to democratic values, safety and security of the citizens of India – had termed that the riots were pre-planned and organised and it was undoubtedly communally motivated.

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Hindu Yuva Vahini leader murdered in Uttar Pradesh

A Hindu Yuva Vahini leader was found dead with stab wounds near his own hospital in Bareilly

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A Hindu Yuva Vahini leader was found dead with stab wounds near his own hospital in Bareilly.

Bareilly Senior Police Superintendent (SSP), Rohit Singh Sajwan, said, “The body of Sanjay Singh, 37, was found near his hospital in Dunka locality under the Shahi police station area on Thursday evening. The body had multiple stab wounds that could have led to his death. We have sent the body for the post-mortem examination and lodged a murder case against unknown people.”

Sajwan said five hospital staff members have been detained and were being questioned. Police were also scanning CCTV footage from the murder scene.

Dinesh Singh, a relative of Sanjay Singh, said the latter was very active in Hindu Yuva Vahini activities and had several political rivals in the area. “I think his rivals are behind this incident,” Singh said.

Singh was Bareilly district vice president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had founded in 2002.

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