Delhi violence ‘one-sided, well-planned’, says minorities panel

People effected by violence in north east Delhi staying in a private relief camp in Chaman park after days of violence, in New Delhi on February 29, 2020   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The Delhi Minorities Commission in its assessment report of events which unfolded recently in northeast Delhi has concluded that the violence which erupted was “one-sided, well-planned” and involved support from locals with maximum damage being done to shops and houses belonging to the minority community.

The Commission also said that compensation announced by the Delhi government was inadequate, considering the extent of damage caused due to the violence.

“We found extensive damage to Muslim houses, shops and workshops everywhere we went. We found that people were visiting their damaged houses for the first time since they fled on February 24-25 but since the houses and shops were badly damaged and debris lying, there was no question that they will be able to start living there any time soon,” the panel said.

The delegation, which included commission chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan, in its report also highlighted instances like those in Bhajanpura, where “Muslim-owned shops like a travel agency and motorcycle showroom were looted and torched while Hindu-owned shops were left untouched.”

Also read | Delhi violence a matter of great shame: Harsh Mander

The panel’s report also cites residents of Gali number 5 in Khajuri Khas claiming that the violence on February 23 began “shortly after the threat and ultimatum” by BJP leader Kapil Mishra.

“This ‘gali’ is a blind alley where 100 persons lived and they could not on their own flee from the main road. They left the place under police protection in the morning of February 25. In this ‘gali’, we found the house of BSF jawan Mohammad Anis which was badly damaged,” the panel said.

At Yamuna Vihar, however, the report states that shops and houses belonging to both communities were affected.

“On the one side of the road are Muslim houses and shops while on the other side are Hindu houses and shops. Both areas were affected by looting and burning. At a charred petrol pump, the owner Mahinder Aggrawal claimed that 30 vehicles were torched there,” the report states.

The panel also refers to testimonies by Raj Kumar, a driver with the Rajdhani School which was also burnt.

“Mr. Kumar told us that some 500 persons barged into his school around 6.30 p.m. on February 24. They wore helmets and hid their faces. They remained there for the next 24 hours and went away next evening after the arrival of police force in the area. They were young people who had arms and giant catapults which they used to throw petrol bombs from the school rooftops,” the report states.

Fact-finding committee

The Commission chairman said that a fact-finding committee would be formed which would include journalists, human rights activists and civil society members.

“We have said that the violence was one-sided as that’s what we felt from what people told us. They said that it was not possible for outsiders to pin-point shops and houses owned by Muslims. So there had to be insiders who we’re helping the outsiders,” said Mr. Khan.

Adding that the commission has urged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to double the compensation, Mr. Khan said, “We have also asked the government to fix the compensation depending on the damage caused. For example, a person whose garage has been burnt cannot sustain with the compensation announced by the government. The damage caused might be more and money not enough.”

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 4:44:03 PM |

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