Note: This article was first published on February 28, 2021 and was republished on February 24, 2023.
Investigation and reporting: Alishan Jafri and Shehlat Maknoon Wani
It’s been one year since 53 people were killed and hundreds of homes and shops damaged or destroyed in communal violence in Delhi. The victims were overwhelmingly Muslim.
How would professional investigators solve a crime like this? By first identifying the men and women who took part in the violence, and then investigating who mobilised and instigated them to do what they did.
They start by looking at the dots and painstakingly connecting them to see where the trail leads.
But instead of doing that, the Delhi Police have spent the past ten months chasing down an imaginary conspiracy.
The Wire has spent the past few months doing what the police have refused to do. We’ve started with the small dots that were visible – on videos posted by the rioters themselves – and worked back to see who they were, how they were radicalised, and how they ended up on the streets with guns, swords, bricks and iron rods.
As we connected the dots, it became clear that this was not a riot planned by just one BJP leader who made just one inflammatory speech but had been worked on by many others since the second week of December 2019. And having created this foundry of hatred in which mainstream political leaders intersect with the so-called fringe and their dedicated media ecosystem, it is continuously being put to use to keep the communal pot boiling.
The chronology we have established makes the nature of this actual conspiracy very clear. The faces and characters we will show you have been deliberately hidden from public view by the Delhi Police’s refusal to investigate them or even speak about them.
Script and narration: Siddharth Varadarajan
Watch part two here.