Zafarul-Islam Khan, the former chairperson of the Delhi Minorities Commission, has been under continued police scrutiny following the anti-Muslim violence that swept the national capital in February this year. In end April, the Delhi Police special cell registered an FIR against the 72-year-old Khan for sedition, two days after he posted on social media thanking the Kuwait government for “standing with Indian Muslims.” This did not prevent him from indicting the Delhi Police and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in a fact-finding report into the violence. The findings were submitted in July by a ten-member committee constituted by the Delhi Minorities Commission.
Khan’s term as the chairperson ended in August, but it did not mark the end of the action against him. On 29 October, the National Investigation Agency conducted raids at Khan’s home and office. According to him, the officials had showed him an order linking his NGO with “Kashmir terror.” He denied these allegations, before adding, “It seems an attempt to implicate me in some terror or riot case.”
In August this year, Sagar, a staff writer with The Caravan, interviewed Khan about his findings on the Delhi violence and the recommendations in his report. In particular, they discussed the case of Faisal Farooq, the owner of Rajdhani Public Senior Secondary School in northeast Delhi’s Shiv Vihar area. In a chargesheet filed in June, the Delhi Police accused Farooq and others of hatching a conspiracy to “precipitate and aggravate riots, in and around Rajdhani School.” The police accused Farooq of providing the school as a “base for rioters,” and having links with “fundamentalist Muslim clerics.” He was granted bail by a Delhi sessions court in June, but on 2 November, the Delhi High Court judge Suresh Kumar Kait cancelled Farooq’s bail.
Khan discussed eyewitness testimonies from his visits to the Rajdhani school which clearly contradicted the police’s narrative. Pulling no punches, Khan said the Delhi Police could easily determine the truth if it so chose, but that it was instead acting under instructions to fulfil a false narrative.
Sagar: When you went to Rajdhani Public School and visited the Shiv Vihar area after the riots, what testimonies did the eyewitnesses give you?
Zafarul-Islam Khan: On 2 March, we went for an official visit. I was there, our member Kartar Singh Kochhar sahab was there, and there were other members from our advisory committees—around twenty to thirty people—and there were police officials as well—around thirty or forty, including a senior officer. We went like this just in case if there’s any attack or anything, we would be protected, since the violence had just happened.