Delhi riots: Police unprepared, failed to anticipate scale in numbers, shows data
Police have been criticised for not anticipating the scale of the riots despite multiple intelligence warnings of a major communal flare-upUpdated: Sep 22, 2020, 14:44 IST
The February riots in north-east Delhi coincided with US President Donald Trump’s visit when the national capital was on a high alert. The deployment data related to the violence-hit areas cited in one of the charge sheets filed in connection shows how police were unprepared or had not anticipated the scale of the clashes. The Delhi police have been criticised for not anticipating the scale of the riots despite multiple intelligence warnings of a major communal flare-up. At least 53 people died while 400 others were injured in the riots.
On February 23, when the first incidents of violence were reported from Jafrabad, there were only 1,393 police personnel deployed.
The data on the police deployment is mentioned in the charge sheet that police filed last week in connection with the conspiracy behind the riots.
On February 24, when large scale violence broke out in parts of northeast Delhi, there were only 1,361 police personnel on the ground. On February 25, the third day of the violence, only 1,399 police personnel were posted. Most cases of rioting, murders, and violence were reported between February 23 and 25. On the night of February 25, national security advisor Ajit Doval visited the riot-hit areas along with current police commissioner SN Shrivastava, who was transferred back to the Delhi police on the evening of February 25 to control the riots.
Records show that following Doval’s visit, the strength of the police personnel on the ground increased almost four times. With additional reinforcements from the Centre, there were 4,291 personnel from police and paramilitary forces, which increased to 4,756 on February 28.
Between February 24 and 27, the charge sheet shows that the fire department received at least 242 calls of arson from the police and residents. Records show that the most--95--fire calls were received on February 25. During the clashes, a tyre market in Gokalpuri, a parking lot with over 150 cars in Shiv Vihar, and houses of residents were burnt. The lone woman, who died in the riots, Akbari Begum, 85, died when rioters set her house afire in Bhajanpura on February 25.
In the charge sheet, the police have also submitted a report from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) about the cancellation of services because of the violence. The DMRC, in the report, said it incurred “unspecified huge revenue loss due to closure of Metro Stations and disruption in services”.
The Delhi Transport Corporation, which runs a fleet of government buses, suffered losses of over Rs 5 lakh as its five buses were damaged.
The charge sheet says at least 1,130 commercial and residential properties were damaged in the revenue department’s sub-divisional areas of Karawal Nagar and Yamuna Vihar. The police said they are awaiting the survey report from other subdivisions such as Seelampur and Shahdara.