The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the police to file a copy of an order by Special Commissioner of Police Praveer Ranjan to the heads of teams investigating the Northeast Delhi violence, asking them to be careful while arresting Hindus. In the order, Ranjan told the investigating teams that the arrest of “some Hindu youth” from affected areas had led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community”, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait issued the direction on a plea by families of two persons killed in the February violence. The petitioners are Sahil Parvez, whose father was shot dead near his residence, and Mohammad Saeed Salmani, whose mother was killed inside her own house. The petitioners cited the report “Resentment in Hindus on arrests, take care: Special CP to probe teams” in The Indian Express on July 16.

The special police commissioner had issued the order on July 8. Parvez and Salmani, through their lawyer, sought quashing of the order.

However, the Delhi High Court observed that no action can be taken based on a news report, unless the claims were proven to be authentic. It said that instead of filing the plea, the petitioners could have used the Right to Information act to procure the July 8 document.

Following this observation, Mehmood Pracha, the counsel for the petitioners, sought direction to the Delhi Police to produce the order, as well as any such other similar order. Pracha claimed that the July 8 order amounts to illegal interference in the performance of investigative functions by police officers. “Under the influence of such illegal orders, the investigating officers have refrained from taking full and free action as per law against several individuals,” the petition said.

In response, Justice Kait ordered the Delhi Police to place the July 8 order on record within two days, with an advance copy provided to the other side.

The violence and investigation

Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the new citizenship law and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

In multiple chargesheets filed last month, the police had claimed the violence in Delhi was a result of a conspiracy to defame the Narendra Modi-led government. They alleged that people who had organised protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were the conspirators. However, the police have failed to produce video evidence so far.