Dead and Buried

Senior police officers accused in Delhi violence; complainants continue to face intimidation

24 June 2020
Numerous complaints filed by residents of northeast Delhi accuse senior police officials of participating in or encouraging targeted violence against Muslim residents of the region during the violence that swept the national capital in February.
Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times / Getty Images
Numerous complaints filed by residents of northeast Delhi accuse senior police officials of participating in or encouraging targeted violence against Muslim residents of the region during the violence that swept the national capital in February.
Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

At least one deputy commissioner, two additional commissioners and two station house officers of the Delhi Police participated in criminal intimidation, unprovoked firing, arson and looting during the violence that swept northeast Delhi in late February, according to complaints filed by eyewitnesses. One complainant wrote that she saw three senior officials in Chand Bagh—Anuj Sharma, an ACP at the Gokulpuri police station, Tarkeshwar Singh, who was the SHO of Dayalpur police station at the time, and RS Meena, the SHO of Bhajanpura police station—fire at and kill protesters. “I was frightened after seeing that, and wondered who would save us that day,” she stated. “The police officials are killing us.” The Caravan is in possession of numerous complaints filed by residents of northeast Delhi that name senior police officials as leading, participating in and encouraging targeted violence against Muslim residents of the region during the violence.

These complaints were filed in February and March, and the Delhi Police is yet to register a first information report, as mandated by criminal procedure, into a single one of them. In a previous report published as part of a series on these complaints, I reported how the police had similarly not registered FIRs against several complaints that accused elected Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of leading or orchestrating the violence. Most of the complaints were filed at a police help desk at a relief camp for displaced residents set up at Mustafabad’s Eidgah grounds. Many complaints noted that the police had refused to accept their complaints when they tried to register a case at police stations directly. At the help desk, each complaint received the stamp of the office or station that exercised jurisdiction over the matter. Several complaints were copied to the prime minister’s office, the ministry of home affairs, the Delhi lieutenant governor’s office and multiple police stations.

Ved Prakash Surya, the DCP of North East Delhi, stood accused in several complaints. On 23 February, Surya stood idle next to Kapil Mishra as the Bharatiya Janata Party leader threatened to take matters out of the Delhi Police’s hands and clear the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act himself if they were not shut down in three days. Surya’s passive demeanour next to Mishra seemed to send a clear message—the BJP leader’s threats of violence had the support of the Delhi Police. While the media, activists and politicians questioned the DCP’s implicit support for Mishra’s statement, nobody seemed to have reported on the events that transpired later that day, likely because the Delhi Police buried the complaints that addressed them.

Two complaints noted that Surya roamed through the streets of Kardampuri on 23 February and warned the protesters to stop their anti-CAA demonstrations. “The DCP patrolled the streets and threatened Dalits and Muslims,” Mohammad Jami Rizvi, a resident of northeast Delhi’s Yamuna Vihar neighbourhood, wrote in his complaint. Rizvi filed his complaint on the very next day, and was among the few Muslims residents who was able to lodge it during the violence, without the help desk. Rizvi quoted Surya in the complaint, “We have received orders from above to ensure that there are no protests after two days. If anyone protests, there will be such riots here that both you and the protests will be killed. You will all be killed.”

Prabhjit Singh is a contributing writer at The Caravan.

Keywords: Delhi Violence Delhi Police Bharatiya Janata Party police brutality communal violence Islamophobia Dead and Buried
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