Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav Named in Delhi Riots Chargesheet

Brinda Karat meeting people affected by Delhi violence. Photo: CPI(M)
Brinda Karat meeting people affected by Delhi violence. Photo: CPI(M)

An international human rights organization Human Rights Watch states in its report that after the hateful speeches of BJP leaders, at least 52 people were killed in the three days of communal violence that broke out in India’s capital New Delhi.

By Rakesh Raman

Delhi Police has named CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, and others in a supplementary chargesheet filed in connection with its probe into the Northeast Delhi riots that took place in February.

Citing “disclosure” statements to claim that the anti-CAA/NRC (Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens) protests in Delhi were held to “malign” the image of the government, the Delhi Police has also named economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor and activist Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy in the chargesheet.

According to a September 13 report in The Indian Express, the original chargesheet, filed in a Karkardooma court by the Crime Branch, was against Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and Jamia Millia Islamia’s Gulfisha Fathima.

The chargesheet was filed in connection with the violence at Jafrabad where an anti-CAA sit-in was held before the riots began. All three are also facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case filed by the Special Cell of Delhi Police.

[ UN Human Rights Experts Urge India to Release CAA Protest Leaders ]

In the supplementary chargesheet, police cited “disclosure” statements of Narwal and Kalita and stated that both were given directions by Ghosh, Apoorvanand, and Roy to protest in different parts of Delhi against the CAA and NRC.

Surprisingly, however, the chargesheet stated that Narwal and Kalita refused to sign the disclosure statements. Yechury and Yadav, police said, were named in Gulfisha’s disclosure statement, stating that they took part in anti-CAA demonstrations to “provoke and mobilize” crowds.

The Indian Express reports adds that the disclosure statements of Kalita and Narwal are almost identical, starting with the mention of hatching a conspiracy in December when Ghosh, Apoorvanand, and Roy allegedly “explained” to them that “we have to protest against CAA/NRC for which we can go to any extreme”; Umar Khalid’s “tips for doing protest against CAA/NRC”; and even a spelling mistake that mentions “massage” instead of message.

[ Delhi Police Allowed Violent Attacks Against Muslims: U.S. Commission ]

“Delhi Police is trying very hard to drag all anti-CAA protesters in the circle of conspirators,” Yogendra Yadav responded, adding that Delhi Police has not formally named him or Yechury as conspirators or accused.

“Delhi Police is under the Centre and Home Ministry. Its illegitimate, illegal actions are a direct outcome of the politics of BJP’s top leadership. They are scared of legitimate peaceful protests by mainstream political parties and are misusing state power to target the Opposition,” Yechury tweeted in his response.

BJP AND DELHI RIOTS

Recently, a leader of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that the violence in Delhi was planned and performed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Sanjay Singh – an AAP Rajya Sabha MP – alleged that the February communal riots that claimed 53 lives were “engineered” by the BJP, which had hatched a “deep conspiracy” ahead of the Delhi Assembly election.

Last month on August 26, a Delhi court had dismissed a petition filed by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat seeking a First Information Report (FIR) filed against BJP minister Anurag Thakur and another BJP leader and MP Parvesh Verma. The petition was filed about the BJP leaders’ hate speeches over protests against the CAA in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.

[ Amit Shah Led Delhi Riots, Shameless Modi Silent: Says Brinda Karat ]

In a statement issued on August 27, Ms Karat said: “This is an unfair judicial process which has resulted in excusing those who make hate speeches even where there is prima facie evidence. The ruling is surprising and disappointing.”

According to an NDTV report, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Vishal Pahuja rejected the complaint saying the Central Government has to allow the FIR first under the law. Usually, the police and courts do not take action against the BJP government and BJP leaders.

CPI(M) leaders Ms Karat and K. M. Tewari had filed the complaint seeking a direction to the Delhi Police to file the FIR against Thakur and Verma.

Ms Karat told the court in her complaint that Thakur and Verma had incited people, as a result of which three incidents of firing took place at two different protest sites in Delhi.

[ European Parliament Asks Modi Govt to Withdraw Anti-Muslim CAA and NRC ]

Ms Karat said she approached the court when the Police Commissioner and the head of Parliament Street police station did not respond to her written complaints.

Ms Karat has alleged that Thakur on January 27 incited the crowd to raise an incendiary slogan – “shoot the traitors” – amid the protests against the CAA. She alleged Verma on January 28 also made incendiary comments against anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh.

Recently, an international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) also released a report under the title: “Shoot the Traitors: Discrimination Against Muslims under India’s New Citizenship Policy.”

The report states that after the hateful speeches of BJP leaders, at least 52 people were killed in the three days of communal violence that broke out in India’s capital New Delhi.

The HRW report further explains that BJP leaders – who mostly act as mobsters – derided the protesters or more dangerously called them anti-national and pro-Pakistan.

[ UN Human Rights Chief to File Application in Supreme Court to Stop CAA ]

Addressing a mob of BJP goons, a minister in PM Modi’s government described the protesters as “Pakistani hooligans,” while others led a chant to “shoot the traitors,” inciting violence.

The violence in Delhi, according to the report, began soon after local BJP politician Kapil Mishra, who had earlier led a large demonstration calling to “shoot” the protesters, posted a video in which he gave an ultimatum to the police, threatening to take the matter into his own hands if the police did not clear the roads of protesters in three days.

Over 200 were injured, properties destroyed, and communities displaced in targeted attacks by Hindu mobs. While a policeman and some Hindus were also killed, the majority of victims were Muslim, the report describes.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman