Members of JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union) protest outside the Police Headquarters against the role of Delhi Police in the Tirlokpuri riot incident in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: S. Subramanium
Members of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) who visited Trilokpuri in East Delhi following stone pelting and communal tensions in the area over a few days around Diwali have expressed apprehensions over residents’ complaints against alleged biased action of the police.
NCM members have receiving complaints from residents that a disproportionate number of muslim youth had been arrested from the area after the communal violence between October 24 and 27 even as the police refused to register FIRs behalf of individuals whose shops had been damaged or burned down during the violence.
“We visited the area last week. Several families reported that they were not being allowed to even see or meet family members arrested. We have communicated the residents’ grievances to the Delhi police. As Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung was away from Delhi at the time and returned this Monday, we have sought meetings with him as well,” said Farida Khan, member, National Commission for Minorities. The NCM planned to approach the Delhi government for assessment of and compensation for damages to enterprises and loss of livelihood for several residents who are daily wage labourers too, she added.
Besides NCM, following an application by advocates Vrinda Grover and Aslam Ahmed, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had on October 30 issued a notice to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to submit a detailed report into the matter within two weeks.
At Mayur Vihar police station, police records show between October 24 and 27 the police arrested 48 persons – 37 Muslims and 11 Hindus. “The police and Rapid Action Force abused us, hit us with sticks and rifles and broke our house doors. They took whoever they could find, and are not allowing anyone to meet or see the boys they have arrested,” said Mehrunissa Bi, a resident of Sanjay Camp in Bock 27 of Trilokpuri. Series of doors of houses in the lane, now empty as families have fled the area, are still broken.
Among the five persons who had suffered bullet injuries on October 25, only 15-year old Ajeet has returned from the hospital. “My friend Arjun and I were returning from tuition classes when we saw massive crowds near our house in Block 27 and 28. To avoid them we made our way through the middle when I heard Arjun cry out “Amma!” I saw a policeman with a gun in his hands shooting in our direction. Next I felt something hurting my stomach and my forearm but I kept running,” recounted Ajeet who was operated for bullet injuries in his stomach and forearm. Ajeet’s family, migrants from Tamil Nadu, who cleans cars for a living said they did not wish to register a complain against the police, or anyone else. The police are yet to begin an enquiry into the firing.
While a FIR has been registered regarding their being violence in the area, no individual FIRs have been registered. “I have made four rounds to the police station but each time they sent me back saying they do not have time to register FIRs right now. Finally, I have sent a registered post to the L-G, Commissioner, DCP’s offices with complaints of my FIR not being registered,” said Ishrar Khan whose three-storey garment shop was gutted in a fire on the night of 24-25th October. Bablu Khan whose scrap shop was also burned down too said the police have refused to register a FIR despite his requests.
“We have registered one FIR into the incident, we cannot register 200 FIRs for every incident that happened at the time,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Kumar. “Our investigation is still on,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern) Sanjay Beniwal.