The Delhi Police on Wednesday accused two members of Pinjra Tod, a women’s rights collective, and 12 others of instigating violence in the Capital by holding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act on February 23 in Jafrabad area, The Indian Express reported. The protestors “inconvenienced people from the other community ” by blocking roads, which prompted them to “raise their voices”, they said.
The allegations were made in a chargesheet filed by the police in connection with the death of a resident of Jafrabad, identified as Aman, who was allegedly shot on February 25 during the large-scale communal violence that broke out in parts of North East Delhi. On May 23, the Delhi Police arrested Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and founding members of Pinjra Tod, for organising the protests in the area.
A group of around 500 people, mostly women, had protested outside the Jafrabad metro station against the amended law. On February 23, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra held a rally in favour of the Citizenship Act. He had also given the Delhi Police a three-day ultimatum to clear the protests. A day later, communal violence engulfed North East Delhi, leaving at least 53 people dead and hundreds injured over the next three days.
The crowd of protestors at Jafrabad Metro station sitting under the “pretext of protesting” against CAA law caused inconvenience to the general public, the police said in its chargesheet. “Many people reached such places, they gave anti-national speeches, provoked protesters and fanned anti-national thoughts,” it added. “As per their agenda, around 1,000 people, including 400 to 500 women protesters from Seelampur, started a candle march at 10 pm on February 22.”
The police said that the protestors gathered under the Jafrabad Metro Station at the Main 66 Foot road, which connects Delhi to Uttar Pradesh, at around 11 pm and blocked it. “The next day, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad called for a Bharat Bandh and some conspirators, who were a part of this crowd, took part in it to tarnish the image of India at the international stage,” it added.
The “conspirators” brought all public transport and movement of people to a halt which left the public “troubled”, the police alleged. “Because of this, people from the other community troubled by the blockage of roads came forward to reopen them,” the chargesheet stated.
The chargesheet added that the crowd sitting at Jafrabad Metro station then started pelting stones at the people who were standing near Maujpur and wanted the roads to be reopened. “This is what the conspirators of the riots wanted — that the two communities come face to face,” it alleged. “The job of spreading poison between the two communities and creating tension within the people was already done. This tension spread to other parts of Northeast Delhi and got violent.”
The Delhi Police further accused the activists of making preparations to “push Delhi towards riots” ahead of United States President Donald Trump’s visit to India on February 24 and February 25, “to tarnish the image of India in the world and to make CAA a big issue in international media”.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it in North East Delhi in February, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
The police made more than 800 arrests by April 13 in connection with the violence. Scroll.in examined a few cases closely to find a troubling pattern: often victims of the violence were being prosecuted by the police. Many lawyers and activists say the lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread has reduced scrutiny of the police investigation and impaired access to justice for those arrested.