Police investigation is meant to pin down culprits, not to throw a safety net for them. FIRs are registered to bring the offenders to book, not to settle scores with ‘inconvenient’ persons. Names are included in charge-sheets on the basis of proof gathered during investigation, not due to apparent political pressure from the powers-that-be. The Delhi police probe into the riots that occurred early this year and its subsequent moves in the case look like a sham, painstakingly worked out by the mandarins who control the Capital’s police force. This has been exposed by none else but an icon of Indian Police Service, Julio Ribeiro, former Mumbai police commissioner who had also headed Gujarat and Punjab police, in a letter addressed to the police chief of Delhi. His letter comes in the wake of the inclusion of the names of CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, activist Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand and others in a supplementary charge-sheet filed by the Delhi Police. It is another matter that the same police were found missing in action when riots hit parts of North-East Delhi.
The riots occurred in the wake of the anti-CAA protests that rocked the nation. However, the protests were by and large peaceful and no incidents of violence were reported from anywhere in the Capital. Then came the provocative, communally-sensitive and incendiary speeches by some of the BJP leaders. But the law-enforcing agencies looked the other way. The rest is history. Fifty-three people, mostly belonging to the minority community, were murdered; thousands were left homeless; and hundreds of business establishments, mostly of Muslims, were torched. Ironically, a majority of those put behind bars too belong to the minority community.
The Delhi police’s eagerness to bend over backwards to please its bosses is nothing new. Earlier, a trial court in the Capital had come down heavily on the police after it found its charge-sheet “bereft of material”. The High Court too, while hearing a case related to the riots, had castigated the police stating that it was “misusing the judicial system and taking it for a ride.” The course of the probe seems to be directed by those who control the police. A High Court judge who instructed the police to take action against the BJP leaders, who spewed communal venom and incited people to take to guns, was transferred in the dead of night. His order to the police to file cases against those who incited violence too got scrapped.
The Delhi police has brought its slogan of “with you, for you, always” under the shadow of doubt. Its overenthusiasm “to entangle true patriots in criminal cases” is casting doubts on its course of actions. Is the police going after the conspirators of Delhi riots or is it weaving conspiracy theories according to the dictates of its political masters? It may be unfair to single out Delhi police in acting unprofessionally. Police force in every State has its hands blemished by this nexus with political leadership. Delhi police probably takes the cake.
(Published on 21 st September 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 39)