New Delhi: A Delhi court has directed the police to file an Action Taken Report (ATR) on a complaint filed by social activist Harsh Mander to lodge an FIR against Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra for allegedly provoking people to target Muslims in February last year.
The riots in northeast Delhi left 53 dead, mostly Muslims, and several hundred injured.
The court was hearing the matter on the direction of the Delhi high court, which was approached by Mander last year.
“Since the matter has already once gone to the High Court of Delhi, this court deems it appropriate to call the report from DCP concerned. Let action taken report be called from DCP concerned for March 9 on the complaint given,” metropolitan magistrate Himanshu Raman Singh said in an order passed on January 29.
In his complaint, Mander had sought registration of an FIR against Mishra for encouraging violence against Anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protestors, and engaging in criminal activities under sections related to giving provocation with intent to cause riot and making, publishing or circulating statement, rumour, report etc. to cause public mischief.
He also urged the court to direct police to arrest Mishra and prosecute him in accordance with law.
In September 2020, Delhi Police in its chargesheet said that they had questioned BJP leader Kapil Mishra in the last week of July in relation to the communal violence that broke out in North-East Delhi in February 2020.
Many rights activists have said that Mishra’s speech was “hateful” and incited the violence that killed over 50 and injured at least 500 people. The violence, the worst that the capital city Delhi has witnessed since the 1984 Sikh massacre, had erupted after BJP leaders including Mishra made public statements against anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters.
Passed by the parliament in December 2019, the CAA makes religion the basis on which India will give citizenship to persecuted minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. People of all religions except Islam can be the beneficiaries of this Act.
As The Wire has reported before, on February 23, before the riots had broken out, Mishra had called for the police to clear the anti-CAA protest site at Jafrabad, a neighbourhood in North-East Delhi, failing which he threatened to gather his supporters and clear the roads himself. More than 700 criminal cases were registered in the aftermath of the violence. Over the last months, the Delhi police have also filed multiple chargesheets. Mishra has not been named in any of the chargesheets.
The Delhi Minorities Commission, in its report on the Delhi violence, had said, “Delhi riots began with Kapil Mishra’s speech, yet no case [was filed] against him.” The report also said that the investigation into the Delhi riots case is discriminatory. It read, “…in most cases, charge-sheets have been filed by police first against Muslim accused and the entire narrative has been changed to one of violence on both sides rather than a pogrom that was in fact carried out.”
In his response to the Delhi Police, however, Mishra has denied these allegations. He claimed that he had gone to Maujpur to “resolve” the situation – and that he did not give a provocative speech. He also said that the comments made by him standing next to DCP North East Ved Prakash Surya, giving an “ultimatum” to the Delhi police to remove the anti-CAA protesters, actually meant that he intended on starting a dharna to counter the anti-CAA protests.
(With PTI inputs)