Dead and Buried

Testimonies from the Delhi violence

Numerous complaints filed before the police by residents of northeast Delhi accused BJP leaders of participating in or orchestrating the violence that swept the national capital in February. The party leaders named in these complaints include Satya Pal Singh, a member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat constituency who formerly served as Mumbai’s commissioner of police; Nand Kishore Gujjar, UP’s member of legislative assembly from Loni; Mohan Singh Bisht, the MLA from Delhi’s Karawal Nagar constituency; Kapil Mishra, the former MLA from Karawal Nagar; and Jagdish Pradhan, a former Delhi MLA from the Mustafabad constituency, who was defeated in the assembly elections held weeks before the violence broke out.

The complaints contained accusations ranging from leading a mob while brandishing a gun, to inciting violence, to eyewitnesses recounting cold-blooded murder, to police officials burning and looting a mosque and directing their subordinates to send the money to a BJP parliamentarian. Several of the complaints were copied to the prime minister’s office, the ministry of home affairs, the Delhi lieutenant governor’s office and multiple police stations. Many of them bore the stamp of the office or station that received the complaint, sometimes bearing multiple receiving stamps.

Despite the gravity of the accusations against Kapil Mishra and the other BJP leaders, no action was taken against any of them. For all intents and purposes, the Delhi Police appears to have buried these complaints. Over May and June this year, The Caravan interviewed several complainants about what they witnessed during the violence and the allegations in their complaints. Not one of the complainants retracted the accusations in their complaint, though several of them expressed concerns for their safety.

Prabhjit Singh is a contributing writer at The Caravan.

Shahid Tantray is a multimedia reporter at The Caravan. He tweets at @shahidtantray

Shaheen Ahmed is a multimedia producer at The Caravan.

Sumedha Mittal is a journalist based out of Delhi.

Amir Malik is an independent journalist. He tweets at @_amirmalik.

Keywords: Delhi Violence Bharatiya Janata Party communal violence Anti-CAA Protests Citizenship (Amendment) Act Islamophobia Dead and Buried