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'Deja Vu': Ex-Judge Says Delhi Violence That Broke Out in Feb Reminded Him of Mumbai Riots

File photo of a car burnt during the riots in Northeast Delhi in February this year.

File photo of a car burnt during the riots in Northeast Delhi in February this year.

Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna made this statement in the prologue of the 227-page report titled Delhi Riots of 2020: Causes, Fallout and Aftermath.

In a report on the Delhi riots, released by the Citizen and Lawyers Initiative, a collective of concerned citizens, lawyers and students, Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna said the events that transpired in February in the national capital had brought back memories of the Mumbai riots of December 1992-January 1993.

He made this statement in the prologue of the 227-page report titled Delhi Riots of 2020: Causes, Fallout and Aftermath, The Indian Express reported. In the prologue to the report, Justice Srikrishna wrote, “With the heart-rending experience gathered during the Commission of Inquiry that went into the riots and violent incidents in Mumbai during December 1992-January 1993, and the sense of apathy towards the victims of such riots that was clearly discernible there, I could not but get a feeling of deja vu while reading this report."

He added that it was time that the state machinery and Constitutional functionaries display greater seriousness in the investigation of the causes of such riots.

Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after citizenship law supporters and protesters clashed with each other in the area, leaving 53 people dead.

Notably, Justice Srikrishna had presided over a commission of inquiry constituted in January 1993 to probe reasons of the communal riots that had erupted in Mumbai and claimed close to 900 lives, and to ascertain if any individuals or groups had a role to play in it.

“When the State’s version of incidents becomes suspect and unacceptable due to trust deficit, it is imperative that an alternative version of the facts observed by the populace is also presented and publicized. This report is the culmination of such a collective effort..." he wrote.

The report added that before the riots had broken out, there was "creation of a facilitative environment of violence" and claimed that a deferred police response “until February 26 allowed the violence to continue unabated which resulted in mounting loss of lives”.

The recommendations of the report include forming a "multistakeholder accountability team for impartial review of evidence, investigation process, damage assessment, receipt of compensation, and citizen complaints.”


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