New Delhi: An order asking Delhi police teams to proceed with caution while arresting Hindu accused of the February riots led the Delhi high court on Friday to ask special commissioner of police Praveer Ranjan as to what the ‘necessity’ was for him to issue this letter. The news, broken by Indian Express, came amid concerns raised over Delhi Police acting in a biased manner in investigating the riots cases.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait asked Ranjan to furnish five similar letters that he or his predecessors had issued after receiving a complaint, input or representation from the public.
In the order, Ranjan asked chiefs of teams investigating riot cases to take “due care and precaution” while making arrests because the arrest of “some Hindu youth” from the riot-affected areas in northeast Delhi had led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community”.
The order was challenged by two petitioners whose family members were killed in the violence which erupted in February this year, saying it is indicative of bias in the Delhi police. During a previous hearing, Justice Kait had asked for a copy of the order.
On Friday’s hearing, the judge was informed that police had issued orders to chiefs of teams probing the northeast Delhi riots stating that arrest of a few Hindu youth from riot-hit areas has led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community”. According to the Express report, HC judge Suresh Kumar Kait sought an explanation and copies of the letter in a sealed cover within two days. The matter is listed for the next hearing on August 7.
“… Such types of letters are not known under CrPC to instruct the officers. However, it is not in dispute that senior officers are duty-bound to guide the officer time and again as per the current situation going on at the particular time,” Justice Kait is quoted to have said while hearing the petition that was filed by families of the two persons who were killed in the February violence.
The petitioners include Sahil Parvez, whose father was shot dead near in the riots, and Mohammad Saeed Salmani, whose mother was lynched inside her house. The petitioners are represented by counsel Mehmood Pracha, who has sought quashing of the order.
The Express report states that Pracha in his argument had said that Ranjan’s order amounts to unlawful and illegal interference in the performance of investigative functions by police officers.
Ranjan who was also present at the hearing conducting through video conferencing said, “I have very specifically mentioned in the beginning that this is an intelligence input, which we received through some agency. These advisories have been issued to all concerned. Not only by me, by the Special CP Intelligence also… The newspaper title that it was issued in the interest of a particular community. That was not the purpose.”
After Express had published the article on July 15, Delhi Police PRO Mandeep S. Randhawa had responded: “The letter was written only to inform the investigating officers about the representations being received from both the communities and to sensitise and guide them through the investigation of these cases.”
But the report points that there was no such mention in the Special CP’s order which specifically highlighted “resentment among Hindu community” over arrests of “some Hindu youth”.
Delhi Police’s Rejoinder to the above News Article 👇 pic.twitter.com/qk7PVflZGx
— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) July 15, 2020