The Election Commission on Sunday removed deputy commissioner of police, South-East Delhi, Chinmoy Biswal, from his post after two firing incidents were reported from Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia University amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, according to the Hindustan Times. Both the areas were under Biswal’s jurisdiction. A third firing incident was reported late on Sunday night outside the Jamia Millia Islamia University.
“Chinmoy Biswal IPS (2008), DCP (South-East) stands relieved from his present post with immediate effect and shall report to MHA [ministry of home affairs],” the Election Commission said in a statement. The poll body, citing “the ongoing situation”, directed senior officer Kumar Gyanesh to take charge as the interim deputy commissioner of police. “The Ministry of Home Affairs or Delhi Commissioner of Police may, however, immediately send a panel of three names to the EC for posting a suitable officer as the regular DCP (South-East),” it added.
The handling of the recent incidents of firing at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Nagar seemed to be the reason behind the action against Biswal, unidentified officials of the Election Commission told NDTV. The poll body was reportedly not satisfied with the steps taken by Biswal for the conduct of free and fair elections. Delhi Assembly elections will be held on February 8, and the results will be declared on February 11.
Shots were fired outside Jamia Millia Islamia University’s gate number 5 in Delhi on Sunday night. On Saturday, a gunman had fired bullets in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality, which has emerged as the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. This came two days after a gunman shot a student near Jamia Millia Islamia while protestors were marching to the Gandhi memorial at Rajghat on the anniversary of the freedom struggle leader’s assassination.
Over the past week, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have made provocative remarks about protestors at Shaheen Bagh. At a rally, Union minister Anurag Thakur appeared to encourage the shooting of protestors. Thakur was heard shouting “desh ke gaddaron ko [the traitors to the country]” while the crowd responded with “goli maaro saalon ko [shoot the traitors]”.
Hundreds of women, along with children, have been peacefully protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens at Shaheen Bagh since the middle of December. The law has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used along with the citizens’ register to harass and disenfranchise them.
The Delhi Police had last month been accused of using excessive force against students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Jamia Millia Islamia. On December 15, the police entered the college campus and fired tear gas shells into the building. Videos also showed the police beating up protesting students. Jamia Millia Islamia University Chief Proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan had said that the police entered without permission and beat up students and staff members. Several students were injured in the attack, and had to be hospitalised.
On January 5, a mob armed with sticks entered the Jawaharlal Nehru University in the national Capital and attacked students and teachers, injuring 34 of them. The Delhi Police, who also entered the campus following the incident, were accused of apathy, and in some cases, of encouraging the mob to attack the students.