Delhi police indulged in anti-Muslims violence with rioters, reveals Amnesty International
August 28, 2020
NEW DELHI (92 News) – The Delhi police personnel were complicit and an active participant in the violence against Muslims that took place in Delhi in February 2020, yet in the last six months not a single investigation has been opened into the human rights violations committed by the Delhi police – before, during and after the violence, said Amnesty International India on Friday as it released a new investigative briefing. The riots in North-East district of Delhi between February 23 and 29 claimed the lives of more than 50 people, a majority of whom were Muslims and injured more than 500. After speaking to 50 riots survivors, eye witnesses, lawyers, doctors, human rights activists and retired police officers and analyzing several user-generated videos, the new Amnesty International India field investigation has documented a disturbing pattern of grave human rights violations committed by the Delhi police during the riots. These violations include police officers indulging in violence with the rioters; torturing in custody; using excessive force on protesters; dismantling sites of peaceful protests and; being mute bystanders as rioters wreaked havoc. “The first step towards ensuring justice for the survivors of the February Delhi riots is to end the impunity that prevents Delhi police from being held accountable. Six months on, there has not been even a single investigation into the role of the Delhi police. This ongoing state-sponsored impunity sends the message that the law enforcement officials can commit grave human rights violations and evade accountability. That they are a law unto themselves,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India. Amnesty International India’s investigative briefing documents the build-up to the riots, providing a timeline of police brutality in university campuses and the hateful speeches made by political leaders including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Kapil Mishra in Delhi. It further documents the Delhi police’s inadequate response in preventing the riots and its active participation in the violence. This includes the denial of medical services to victims, failure to rescue them, excessive and arbitrary use of force on protesters and differential treatment of assemblies. The briefing then demonstrates a pattern of torture and ill-treatment meted out on riot survivors and detainees by the Delhi police after the violence, followed by the harassment and intimidation of survivors and peaceful protesters. The ruthless treatment of the heavily injured men by the Delhi police violates the international human rights standards that allow for force to be used only as a last resort, as much necessary to achieve the objective of such use and proportional to that objective. It also violates Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party. Amnesty International India also analysed the role played by politicians who made hate speeches in the build-up to the riots. To illustrate, on 23 February, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, while leading a rally against the peaceful protests in Jaffrabad in North-East Delhi, gave the Delhi police a live-streamed three-day ultimatum to remove the protesters. His speech was immediately followed by widespread violence. However, none of the political leaders have been prosecuted so far.