On Saturday evening, a video of a middle-aged woman threatening protesting farmers went viral on social media. In the video, the woman identified herself as Ragini Tiwari and warned that if the protestors did not end their bloackage that if the protests were not vacated by December 16 and 17, then she would do it herself.
“I am telling all my sisters that prepare for [December] 17,” she said in video. “If the government does not free us from the farmers’ movement in Delhi then Ragini Tiwari will once again create Jafrabad and whatever happens the Centre, state government and Delhi police will be responsible.”
Jafrabad is an area in North East Delhi where a stretch of road was occupied by people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act on February 22. The next day, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra amassed his supporters and told the police demanded that police that if they did not force the protestors to move, he and his followers would do so.
Mishra’s remarks raised the level of tension in the area and precipitated skirmishes. On February 24, the area erupted in communal violence that left at least 53 dead and hundred others injured.
Tiwari’s video prompted several Twitter users to demand that a First Information Report be filed against her. On December 13, the Twitter handle of Deputy Commissioner of North East Delhi responded to these requests and stated that the station house officer of Jafrabad police station had been directed to take “necessary action”.
But when the station house officer of Jafrabad police station, Rajeev Bharadwaj, was asked if an FIR had been filed, he told Scroll.in that he was “not authorised to speak to the press”. Calls and messages to the DCP, North East went unanswered. This article will be updated if he responds.
‘Not Gandhi’s monkeys’
In the video, Tiwari alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the farmers protest, which started on November 25 aas farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh blocked several entry points to New Delhi.
These farmers have demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre repeal three new farming laws. They fear that the legislations will end the minimum support prices they receive from the government on key crops, leaving them at the mercy of corporations.
“The conspiracy of the kisan andolan army to free anti-nationals and traitors like Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid...and the support to such traitors...we cannot become Gandhi’s monkeys and watch such a conspiracy blindly,” Tiwari said in the video.
After the violence in North East Delhi, the police claimed that protests against the CAA were a conspiracy to defame the Narendra Modi government during US President Donald Trump’s visit. Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam and former JNU student leader Umar Khalid were among those arrested in the case.
Last week, some participants in the farmers’ protests held up posters demanding the release of the two students and other activists in custody.
“Hum toh nipat hi lenge kisan aandolan se, main khali kara hi dungi,” Tiwari threatened in the video. We will deal with the farmers’ protests. I will clear them.
This is not the first time Tiwari has been seen being combative.
The day before the communal violence in Delhi, on February 23, Tiwari did a Facebook live at Maujpur Chowk in North East Delhi. She stood in a crowd that chanted slogans “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko”, shoot the traitors.
In the video, Tiwari can be heard saying, “Cut him up, whoever it is cut him up...is it a Bhimti?” Bhimti is a derogatory term used for the supporters of Dr BR Ambedkar, India’s first law minister, the archtect of the Indian Constitution.
“Enough is enough, we will not tolerate this attack on the Sanatan,” she said in the video. “This is a fight to finish, all the Sanatanis should come out, either kill or die, the rest will be seen later.”
On the night of February 23, Tiwari was seen in a report by ABP News leading a group of government supporters at Maujpur to chant slogans, and block the stretch on the opposite side of anti-CAA protestors in Jafrabad. She was also seen bickering with Delhi Police when they asked her to clear the stretch, the report showed.
“What is it sir? Both the jams [protests] will stay...Empty Jafrabad...Delhi Police go back,” she was seen saying in the video.
In an interview to News24 on February 29, Tiwari claims that she is not a member of any political party and says that she did not say anything wrong in her videos.
But Tiwari’s presence in North East Delhi was not just limited to sloganeering and hate speech.
An eyewitness had allegedly seen her fire bullets, hitting a person on the head at Mohan Nursing Home near Bhajanpura Petrol Pump in North East Delhi on the night of February 23, The Quint reported in June.
“Ragini Tiwari was the first to shoot at us and it hit the head of a boy who was standing there. This caused confusion. After this, there was stone pelting and firing. This is when I ran home,” the eyewitness alleged according to the report.
To add to this, the Delhi government’s home department shared a video with Delhi police that showed Tiwari allegedly pelting stones along with rioters in front of police officials at Maujpur on February 23, The Indian Express reported in October.
In another Facebook live in June, Tiwari admitted that she “cleaned out Jafrabad”, reported Article 14 in October.
“Yes, for my country and religion, I cleaned out Jaffrabad, and I don’t regret it,” the report quoted her as saying in the video, which is no longer accessible. “If I stay alive, then I vow that every time Shaheen Bagh and Jaffrabad [situations] are created, I will clean them out again, in my style.’’
Tiwari also claimed she was able to dodge charges of conspiracy and provoking violence in February, with help from the Hindu Welfare Board, a, NGO in Patiala that is providing free legal assistance for her case, according to the report.
Despite these videos and allegations, Tiwari does not find any mention in any of the chargesheets related to the riots.