Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra finds mention in the latest fact-finding report by the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) on the North East Delhi riots a total of 19 times.
The report, which in a stark contrast to the chargesheets filed by Delhi Police that trace the roots of the riots to Shaheen Bagh protests, squarely blames a number of BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, for their "incendiary" speeches.
“Within hours of the Kapil Mishra’s speech on 23 February 2020, violence broke out in various parts of North East Delhi, including Shiv Vihar, Khajuri Khas, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Maujpur, Karawal Nagar, Jafrabad, Mustafabad, Ashok Nagar, Bhagirathi Vihar, Bhajanpura and Kardam Puri,” the report states.
“Violence started in different pockets almost immediately after the short speech of Shri Kapil Mishra on 23 February 2020 at Maujpur in which he openly called for forcefully removing the protestors at Jafrabad in North East Delhi."
"He clearly said that he and his supporters will take matters into their own hands, alluding to extralegal vigilante tactics… The open admission of 'not listening' to the police and extralegal tactics should have been seen by the authorities present as inciting violence,” the report states.
The report also questions the alleged inaction of the Deputy Commissioner of Police North-East district, Ved Prakash Surya, who “was standing right next to Shri Kapil Mishra when he said “after that we will not listen to the police...”.
"At this point, the police failed to apprehend and arrest Mishra and all those gathered to hear and cheered at his speech. This indicates that they failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and protect life and property.”
Following the speech, the report states, “different groups/mobs quickly fanned out to the local areas, openly carrying various weapons and arms like petrol bottles/bombs, iron rods, gas cylinders, stones and even firearms.”
To provide the context to the communal disturbance in North East Delhi in which 53 people lost their lives, the fact-finding report quotes from a speech reportedly made by Karnataka BJP MLA Somasekhara Reddy in which he "cautioned" Muslims against participating in anti-CAA rallies and warned them of “serious repercussions in blatantly divisive and dangerous terms.”
The report goes on to state that “... Similarly in Delhi, several elected leaders of the BJP, including those holding Cabinet positions such as the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of Animal Husbandry Giriraj Singh, former MLA of Karawal Nagar and BJP leader Kapil Mishra, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath among many others, made provocative, threatening speeches against the protestors.”
The chairperson of the DMC fact-finding report, MR Shamshad, in his introductory remarks, said, “Partisanship and bias on the part of the police and government have led to the abject failure of duty and of the law and order machinery in the capital of India. Investigations have purposefully been misdirected to change the narrative of the cause of the violence that erupted in the North-East district of Delhi. Instances of incitement for violence by politicians of national standing have been completely bypassed.”
In contrast to the report prepared by the DMC, investigating officers of the Delhi Police have in their chargesheets mentioned the violence that unfolded outside Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year, followed by violence in New Friends Colony, and then the subsequent anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh and at various other places in Delhi as the backgrounds to the communal violence in North East Delhi.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana denounced the report. "This is a political report. Does it mention councillor Tahir Hussain who is in jail in connection with the riots?" he asked.
Stressing that the police has said that BJP leaders had no role in the riots, Khurana accused the minorities commission of levelling baseless allegations against the saffron party. "They should respect the law and let it take its own course," Khurana said.
(With inputs from PTI)