Instead of issuing casual statements against negligent police officers, the courts must punish them for dereliction of their duty by terminating their services and sending them to jails.
By Rakesh Raman
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vinod Yadav who has been castigating careless Delhi Police officials for conducting a lousy investigation into Delhi riots cases has been transferred.
According to a notice issued on October 6 by the Delhi High Court, ASJ Yadav – who was hearing several riots cases at the Karkardooma District Courts – has been strangely transferred to New Delhi district’s Rouse Avenue Courts.
As trial judge, Yadav has been critical of the “callous and farcical” probe carried out by Delhi Police in some riots cases of 2020. Accusing Delhi Police officials of dereliction of duty, Yadav had commented that failure to conduct a proper investigation will torment “sentinels of democracy”.
It is believed that Delhi Police officials had colluded with the rioters as the Delhi pogrom – in which many people, mostly Muslims, were murdered – was secretly directed by the government politicians.
Commenting on the complicity of police, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana has also observed that police officers in India collude with the ruling party to harass political opponents and critics of the government.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Ramana said in a case that it is a “disturbing trend” in India where police side with the ruling party. “Police officers who want to be in the good books of the ruling party misuse power and harass political opponents,” the CJI said.
DELHI RIOTS PROBE
A local court in Delhi has found that the standard of investigation into a large number of 2020 northeast Delhi riots cases is “very poor” as the police did not bother to take the investigation to a logical end after filing half-baked charge sheets.
As a result, the court observed in an order dated August 28 that the accused, who have been named in multiple cases, continue to languish in jails. According to reports, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vinod Yadav made the observations while framing charges against a man accused in the communal violence on February 25, 2020 in Delhi.
The judge had sought the intervention of the Delhi Police Commissioner while complaining that in a majority of cases the investigating officers (IOs) have not been appearing in court.
The judge added in the order that IOs of the riot case have not been briefing the prosecutors for arguments on charges and are merely emailing PDF of the charge sheet to them on the morning of the hearing. “The investigation appeared to be callous, inefficient, and unproductive,” the court said.
Note: Instead of issuing casual statements against negligent police officers, the courts must punish them for dereliction of their duty by terminating their services and sending them to jails.
RESPONSIBILITY OF RIOTS
As serious questions were being raised about the integrity of investigations carried out by Delhi Police into February communal violence in Delhi, a fact-finding report released in December 2020 by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) held India’s Home Minister Amit Shah responsible for the communal violence that broke out in northeast Delhi.
Earlier, in March 2020, Brinda Karat – a CPI(M) leader – did not mince her words when she directly blamed Amit Shah for the murderous attacks on innocent people of Delhi.
In a video interview with a local news channel, Ms Karat said that Amit Shah – whose whereabouts were not known during the days of violence – was secretly leading the rioters to attack people belonging to the minority community or Muslims. “Riots were 100% led by Amit Shah while the police were complicit in the crime,” she said.
Later, in September, Ms Karat – a member of the CPI(M) politburo – said that Delhi Police has filed a cheatsheet in the name of chargesheet in the case of Delhi communal violence that took place in February.
Ms Karat added categorically that Delhi Police – which works under the directions of Home Ministry (headed by minister Amit Shah) – is trying to cheat the people of India by falsely implicating the innocent protesters who opposed the government’s discriminatory citizenship laws, including the Citizenship Amendment Act (or CAA).
She said that Delhi Police has also mentioned her name in the so-called chargesheet – which is actually a cheatsheet – related to the northeast Delhi violence case.
Ms Karat complained that the BJP leaders – like Kapil Mishra – who are actually responsible for the communal violence are being considered as whistleblowers in the same cheatsheet.
DELHI COMMUNAL VIOLENCE
The violence in Delhi took place when the government headed by prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi failed to stop the peaceful protests by citizens who were demanding the revocation of discriminatory citizenship laws (such as the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA) introduced by the government.
In order to describe the violence, an international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) 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 (Modi’s political party) 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.
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 a 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.
Hundreds of people were injured, properties destroyed, and communities displaced in targeted attacks allegedly carried out by Hindu mobs. While a policeman and some Hindus were also killed, the majority of victims were Muslim, the report describes.
COMPLICIT POLICE AND WEAK COURTS
Usually, the police and courts do not take action against the BJP government and BJP leaders. The police officers have seen the horrific case of Gujarat riots whistleblower Sanjiv Bhatt who tried to raise his voice against Modi (who was then the chief minister of Gujarat) in the case related to Gujarat pogrom of 2002 in which over 2,000 people – mostly Muslims – were murdered.
Bhatt – who was a senior police officer – has been implicated in a custodial death case of 1990 and serving life imprisonment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt, the wife of Sanjiv Bhatt, maintains that it is a fabricated case in which her husband has been falsely implicated.
Similarly, most judges must be scared after witnessing the fate of judge Loya (Brijgopal Harikishan Loya) who had died in mysterious circumstances. In this case, BJP leader Amit Shah – who is now the Home Minister of India – was the prime accused.
Although the demands for fair investigation into Delhi riots are increasing, no investigation or investigating officer can dare to point the finger at Amit Shah who controls Delhi Police. Judges and investigating officers know if judge Loya can die in an inexplicable manner, they also can be made to face the same fate.
Earlier it had happened in the Vyapam scam in which, like Amit Shah, another BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was an accused. As the investigation into the Vyapam case was progressing, the witnesses and others familiar with the case started disappearing.
A Special Task Force (STF) submitted a list to the high court in 2015 informing that 23 people died “unnatural death.” Some media reports claimed that more than 40 people associated with the Vyapam scam had died under mysterious circumstances.
Obviously, most witnesses, police officers, and judges will not dare to go against the will of Modi and his associate – Home Minister Amit Shah. Now, many observers believe that India is fast becoming a dictatorial state like China, North Korea, and Russia where the government critics are executed under false charges or killed secretly by poisoning or shooting them.
Therefore, the activists in India who oppose Modi and Shah must get ready to face such eventualities. And it goes without saying that Delhi Police will not conduct a fair investigation into the Delhi riots cases.
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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