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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightOverturning cases to...

Overturning cases to turn victims into accused


Things happening around the communal violence case in Delhi,  which was planned and executed by sangh parivar forces as part of the conspiracy to dip in blood the non-violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA),  are becoming clearer by the day.  The victims of the riots, who lost their lives and property and are now homeless without any hope of rehabilitation by the government even in the time of Covid,  are being put on the defensive by such heinous attempts.

The protesters in Shaheen Bagh,  including mothers and young girls,  attracted international attention through their novel historic resistance with non-violent, Gandhian protest against state terrorism,   in the course of their spirited defence against CAA which was a planned move to wipe out Muslims from the national picture and make them irrelevant.  The regime used all the arms in its possession to defuse this protest,  and when that proved ineffective,  to torpedo it. But Shaheen Bagh only got replicated all over the country.   What the desperate ruling establishment and its driving force,  sangh parivar, tried next was to create tension by unwarranted provocation and by unleasing riots, in order to strangulate the protests.

In mid-February,  when the anti-CAA agitation was at its peak,  women and children were in a sit-in strike near the Jaffrabad metro station,  Delhi.  On 23 February,  a gang led by BJP leader Kapil Mishra,  mobilisied a crowd demanding that the road blocks put up by the protesters should be removed and announcing support to the Centre's stand on citizenship.   Mishra,  who was already notorious for incendiary speeches and statements,  issued an ultimatum to the government to remove the road blocks,  failing which, he threatened,  the people would take matters upon themselves. 

Before long,  confrontations erupted in the area and within three to four days,  north-eastern Delhi was set aflame in racial riots.  Out of the 53 people killed,  38 were Muslims.  14 mosques and a dargha were demolished according to official figures.  The police,  who silently watched Kapil Mishra's call for violence,  were  alleged to have sided with the arsonists in most of the incidents.   

Delhi police had informed the court that 751 cases were registered in connection with the violence.  Over the last two weeks,  charge sheets have started being filed in these cases.   The world had clearly watched through video clips on social media the picture of sangh parivar leaders giving calls for riots before the media,   lynching people to death,  making arson and theft,  and destroying and defying mosques.  The Delhi Minorities Commission, mediapersons and fact-finding teams had revealed that what happened there was one-sided racial attack against Muslims and that their aim was to deflate the anti-CAA stir. 

These being the facts,  people presumed that the government would be left with no option than to bring those who led the riots before the law.   But belying any such expectations,  the picture now upends all that with the victims of violence themselves being framed in cases,  and the front-runners of the anti-CAA strike being booked and being put in jail under draconian laws.  As it happened in the matter of the racial attacks,  even in these post-riot actions the silence observed by the Opposition parties including the Congress and the Delhi government,  only lend strength to the anti-protest and  anti-Muslim moves of the central government.  As for the remaining course of court's intervention,  the Centre found a solution for that too.

The central government sprung to action to make clear what it had desired:  it transferred overnight Justice Muralidhar of Delhi High Court,  who had strongly reprimanded the central government - who are in charge of Delhi police -  for the police inaction and prejudice against the riot victims,  to Punjab-Haryana High Court.  What one could see thereafter was all the cases of Delhi communal riots turning topsy-turvey one after another.  The charge sheet of one of the riot cases filed by Delhi police the other day is an unmistakable demonstration of that.   The charge-sheet,  which details the chronology of events from the 13 December - when the anti-CAA protest was vibrant - until 25 February,  drags the civil rights activists to the charge of conspiracy. 

But then what of Kapil Mishra who had given an open call for riot?  There is not a single mention about him in the charge sheet.  Not only that,  there is also the ironic finding that the riot itself was a result of Muslims provoking Hindus.   It is before the same High Court which had asked why no cases were charged against central minister Anurag Thakur,  Parvesh Mishra MP and Kapil Mishra,   that a charge sheet has now been filed without even a mention of their names and pointing the whole finger of blame at Muslims for the riots.    There may be a difference of opinion about an enquiry by a sangh parivar government into a riot led by themselves.   But the disconcerting discovery emerging now from the Delhi case probe is that a beginning has been made of the 'new normal' justice administration that lets hounders go free and portrays victims as accused,  thereby subjecting them to further torture.

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