Why no action against ruling party leaders, ask former top cops
The letter written by IPS officials to Delhi police commissioner SN Shrivastava was shared on social media platforms a day after the Delhi Police arrested former JNU student Umar Khalid in connection with the Delhi riots.Updated: Sep 15, 2020, 02:07 IST
Nine retired IPS officers have written an open letter to Delhi police commissioner SN Shrivastava, saying they were pained at the police implicating those who spoke and joined protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but letting off the hook those who instigated violence and are associated with the ruling party.
The letter was shared on social media platforms a day after the Delhi Police arrested former JNU student Umar Khalid in connection with the Delhi riots.
Prominent among the nine who have written the letter are AS Dulat, former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s office; Shafi Alam, former director general of the National Crime Records Bureau; K Saleem Ali, former CBI special director; Amitabh Mathur, former special secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat and PGJ Nampoothiri, former director general of Gujarat Police.
Commenting on the investigation, the nine retired officers in their letter wrote, “ ....Such investigation will only make people lose faith in democracy, justice, fairness, and the Constitution. A dangerous thought that may ultimately shake the pillars of an orderly society and lead to breakdown of law and order. We would therefore request you for reinvestigation of all riot cases fairly and without any bias based on sound principals of criminal investigation to provide justice to the victim and their families and for upholding the rule of law.”
In their letter to Shrivastava, the nine officers, said they endorsed the recent letter that former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro had written, questioning the police investigation into the riots.
Though the letter did not mention any names, BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma were criticised at the time for speeches and slogans ahead of the Delhi elections. Verma declined to comment on the allegations of hate speech.
Besides the officers, senior advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan also criticised the police. Sharing a video of Khalid, in which he is speaking about peaceful protests, Bhushan tweeted: “This is Umar Khalid who has been arrested for instigating riots in Delhi. People like Kapil Mishra who incited violence have not been arrested.”
Mishra, a Delhi BJP leader, has been named by several anti-CAA protesters of orchestrating the riots, a charge he has denied in his previous statements to the press.
On the afternoon of February 23, a day before violence erupted in parts of north-east Delhi, Mishra had led a group of CAA supporters near Jafrabad Metro station, and shouted slogans against the anti-CAA group. Standing next to a senior police officer, Mishra had said that he has given the police three days’ ultimatum to clear the road and remove the anti-CAA protesters, failing which they would not even listen to the police. The riots started the following day. Delhi police have not charged Mishra in any riots case.
JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh tweeted that people such as Mishra who said “Goli Maaro saalo ko (shoot the traitors)” were spared while anti-CAA protesters were arrested. “Safeguarding Constitution and democracy has officially become a crime in our country,” she tweeted.
In response to the growing clamour for his arrest, especially after Khalid’s arrest, Mishra tweeted a video, saying, “People like Umar Khalid, Tahir Hussain, Khalid Saifi, Safoora Zargar, Apoorvanand carried it (riots) out after careful planning. This was a terrorist attack just like 26/11 (in Mumbai). These terrorists, murders should be hanged. I congratulate Delhi Police for nabbing these people.“
The Delhi BJP also defended Mishra. “Those asking for Mishra’s arrest should know that the police didn’t find anything against him. The arrest of people like Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain is a different matter. Police found proof of their involvement in the riots and this is why they were arrested,” said Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta.
Commenting on the letter by the former IPS officers, Delhi police spokesperson, Anil Mittal said, “Delhi police has investigated all riots cases professionally and meticulously. The matter is subjudice. Any grievance in this regard has to be raised at appropriate platform. With regard to the letter, the matter has been adjudicated by Delhi HC and prima facie it found nothing wrong in issuing directions by the senior officer. “
Mittal was referring to the nine officers writing about a media report that one senior Delhi police officer had issued a controversial order to influence the investigation. The high court had ordered that prime facie the top cop’s order did not cause prejudice and cleared the officer of the alleged charges.