More than 2,000 outsiders or goons occupied two schools for 24 hours to execute the Delhi riots. This is one of the conclusions in a preliminary report prepared by a delegation of the Delhi Minorities Commission. The fact-finding report, though, is yet to come. Chairman of the commission Dr Zafarul Islam Khan and member Kartar Singh Kochhar visited violence-affected areas of north-east Delhi. “The schools were used for the execution of Delhi riots. The police should be held accountable on this. How did the outsiders/goons reach this place? And not just that; a mob of 2,000 was allowed to stay for more than 24 hours and execute its plans,” said Islam.
The report said that in Shiv Vihar, the delegation found two schools which were occupied by goons who had come from outside the area. The first is Rajdhani Public School run by Faisal Farooq and the other is DRP Convent School run by Pankaj Sharma.
The two schools share a wall.
At the first institute, driver Raj Kumar told the commission that 500 people barged into his school at around 6.30 pm on Monday, February 24. “They wore helmets and hid their faces. They remained there for the next 24 hours,” the report quoted him saying.
The goons went away the next evening after the arrival of police force in the area. “They were young, well-built people who had arms and giant catapults which they used to throw petrol bombs from the school roof to other houses across the road. Some of them used heavy ropes, still in the school, to climb down into the other adjacent school. They took away the computers and any other thing they could carry and smashed and burnt what they left behind,” said the report.
At DRP School, the delegation was given the same description of the people who occupied Rajdhani School. “But more people, upwards of 1,500, stayed here for over 24 hours from 24th evening. They climbed down into the school from the roof of the adjacent Rajdhani School.” Guard Roop Singh described the goons to the commission.
Singh told the members that he somehow saved himself and his family by slipping away through a rear door. “He lived with his family in quarters inside the school. He told us that these people looted or burnt everything in the school. We found in the school open area a mound of burnt desks with only their steel frames intact,” the report said.
Rajdhani School gave the delegation a photograph of the mob which had occupied it for over 24 hours. “In it, young people are seen wearing helmets and covering their faces. The guard of the DRP School confirmed that same kind of people occupied his school also. Over 2,000 such people stayed in the two schools for over 24 hours,” said the report.
The report suggested that members of the mob used to go out in small trucks in shifts of 2-3 hours each time to execute looting and arson. Food was brought to them inside. It was clear that they had local people helping them.
“It is our assessment that the violence in North East district to Delhi was one-sided and well-planned in which maximum damage was inflicted on Muslim houses and shops with local support. Without massive help these people will not be able to rebuild their lives. We feel that the compensation announced by Delhi government is not adequate for the purpose,” said the members in the report.
The commission members met the area’s assistant and deputy commissioners of police who explained the problems involved in policing, rescuing and rehabilitation. Later, the delegation, accompanied by some police officers and members of the commission’s peace and minority advisory committees, toured the affected areas.