Rights

Delhi Riots: Amid Reports of 'Haphazard' Detentions, Minorities Panel Seeks Police Report

Commission also seeks details of compensation claims and disbursal from district magistrate.

New Delhi: The Delhi Minorities Commission has intervened in the process of detentions, arrests and grant of compensation in matters related to the violence that took place in North East Delhi over three days beginning February 24. The panel has directed the deputy commissioner of police (North East District) to provide the details of those detained or arrested and the district magistrate to furnish the complete SDM area-wise list of compensation forms filed.

In a series of letters to the DCP (NE) on March 18, the panel’s chairperson Zafarul Islam Khan mentioned “haphazard arrests” in which people have been picked up and later forced to admit to crimes they did not commit and individual cases of violence against Muslims, for which the perpetrators were not proceeded against.

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‘Youth being picked up without charges’

In one of these letters, he wrote: “We are getting reports of haphazard arrests of youth in the age group of 20-30 years. They are arrested in your area in dozens every single day without any charges or warrants.”

Khan also insisted that the Commission was “getting information that arrested youth are being pressurised to own up or to implicate others in crimes they apparently did not commit”. Also, he charged that there was “information that in some cases such arrested youth are forced to pay huge bribes and if they do, they are let off.”

Terming this “a serious violation of human and civil rights”, he directed the DCP to issue clear instructions to all the SHOs under his jurisdiction to desist from such illegal practices.

Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Zafarul Islam Khan along with other members at a press conference where contents of the fact-finding team’s report were made public on August 1. Photo: Delhi Minorities Commission

DCP told to provide details on detainees, arrests, complaints

He also urged the DCP, through a separate letter, to provide a police station-wise list of all detainees, copies of all the FIRs lodged, and copies of all complaints not converted into FIRs.

Earlier fact-finding teams of the DMC, led by Khan, had visited the violence-affected areas and interacted with people there. Talking to The Wire, Khan had also alleged that the violence was premeditated and planned and a large number of people from outside had stayed in schools in the area before launching attacks on the hapless citizens.

Khan also took up with the police instances of assaults on individuals. He pointed out how photographs of 37-year-old Mohammad Zubair being assaulted at an underpass near Bhajanpura market on February 24 got widely circulated. “Faces of a number of lynchers (sic) are clearly visible in these photographs ….. one of the faces has been identified from his facebook page as that of Anant Bhardwaj,” he wrote, seeking a response on “what action has been taken in this case”.

DM directed to provide details on compensation

Exercising his powers under Section 10(h) of the Delhi Minorities Commission Act, 1999, the panel chairperson, Zafarul Islam Khan wrote to the district magistrate (North East) on March 18 seeking “complete SDM area-wise lists of compensation forms filed by victims of violence”.

The notice directed that “these lists should clearly indicate cases which the paid amounts where part or full compensation has been paid”.

Also Read: Backstory: Only Unbiased Journalism, Not Riot Videos, Can Bring Justice on Delhi’s Violence

This assumes significance as there have been numerous complaints from the area about the administration not processing compensation claims. The Wire had spoken to a number of volunteers at legal camps, who insisted that many had not received any compensation since they were unable to track their claim forms after submitting them.

The letter stated that the information is required under Clause 10 (5d) of the DMC Act under which the Commission is authorised to “requisition any public or institutional record, or copy thereof, from any office or institution of the government”.

It also said that the information should be furnished by March 23 and warned that in case of failure to comply action would be initiated by the Commission which is a statutory body with quasi-judicial powers and which functions as a civil court.