The Delhi Police in its chargesheet have said that they had questioned Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra in the last week of July in connection with the violence that broke out in North East Delhi in February, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
On February 23, Mishra gave the Delhi Police a three-day ultimatum to get the Jafrabad anti-Citizenship Act protest site cleared. In a tweet, which has since been removed, he told the police he would not listen to them if they failed to meet the demand. However, soon after his threat, supporters of the Citizenship Act started clashing with those opposing it in various parts of the district.
During the questioning, Mishra claimed that he had visited the area to resolve conflicts and also that he had not delivered a speech. He added that the remarks he had made while standing next to a senior police officer were only an announcement of his demonstration that he would lead in the following days.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act 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 in Delhi since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
In a viral video the BJP leader had tweeted on February 23, Mishra was seen addressing a gathering of supporters of the new citizenship law with a police officer standing next to him. “They [protestors] want to create trouble in Delhi,” he was heard saying in the video. “That’s why they have closed the roads. That’s why they have created a riot-like situation here. We have not pelted stones. The DCP [deputy commissioner of police] is standing in front of us and on your behalf, I want to tell him that till the US President [Donald Trump] is in India, we are leaving the area peacefully. After that, we won’t listen to you [police] if the roads are not vacated by then… we will have to take to the streets.”
However, in the Delhi Police’s chargesheet, Mishra claimed that he was only requesting the senior police officer to clear the protest sites within three days, after which he would begin his demonstration.
Mishra also said in his statement that local residents of the protest sites were unable to function due to the demonstrations. “Muslim logon ne wahan darr aur aatank ka maahol bana kar rakha tha [Muslims had created an atmosphere of terror and fear there],” the politician told police, according to the chargesheet, reported The Indian Express.
The BJP leader further claimed that ambulances were unable to access the areas near the protest sites, and that “Muslims had blocked the roads for the past two to three months”. Mishra also admitted to visiting Maujpur but said it was because he got calls from people and read social media posts on turmoil in the area.
The BJP leader, according to the police’s chargesheet, said that he had gone to Maujpur by himself and only for a brief period. However, on February 23, Mishra had tweeted that he would lead a gathering around 3 pm at the Maujpur Chowk in response to the Jafrabad protest. Mishra reiterated his claim that he had not delivered any speech during this time.
When asked to recollect his observations after visiting Maujpur, Mishra said that he was told that stone pelting had begun around 2.45 pm. “...People were also running in front of me, informing me that a mob was doing stone pelting,” read the Delhi Police’s chargesheet. “I had spoken with DCP Surya before reaching around 3 to 3.30 pm.”
Delhi Police’s final report in chargesheet
The Delhi Police Special Cell’s final report in the chargesheet against the 15 accused of instigating the violence has attempted to establish a link with bringing down the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government. “From the day that the results of the 2019 Parliamentary elections were declared, the tone and tenor of the public utterances of the key conspirators of the present case has shown a clear streak of affinity towards violence which had started playing out in their minds,” the 2,695-page final report claimed, according to The Indian Express.
The report contains the signatures of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) PS Kushwah and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar. It noted that internationally, terrorist activity is defined as using violence to coerce a government to give in to political demand.
The final report of the chargesheet also explains how a “terrorist act” is defined in India under section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “In this case, the use of firearms, petrol bombs...causing death of a police personnel and grievous injuries...with intention to overawe the state and force the central government to withdraw CAA, NRC clearly falls in the definition of terrorist activity,” it adds.
The final report also claimed that the end goal of all the conspirators was to overthrow an elected government with the use of “engineered, vicious and visceral communal violence”.
Transcripts of chats between Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, filmmakers Saba Dewan, Rahul Roy, Pinjra Tod leaders Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, were added to the chargesheet. It also included conversations of activists such as Harsh Mander and Anjali Bharadwaj.
The chargesheet’s final report also highlighted that the conspirators presented a new meaning to “hate speech” as theirs was sugarcoated with nationalism. However, the report said that their speeches were a well-planned attempt at “igniting and reinforcing a pan-Islamic identity”.
All the 15, named in the chargesheet, have been accused under sections of the UAPA, the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act. The chargesheet, filed at Karkardooma court, is said to be over 17,000 pages. Last week, the police were seen carrying two steel trunks that had the document. As many as 2,600 pages noted details of the charges against the accused, while thousands of others were pages of annexures.
Suspended Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain, Narwal, Kalita, Jamia Millia Islamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, United Against Hate co-founder Khalid Saifi and former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan are among the others named by the police.
The Delhi Police have also named Communist of Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand, Yogendra Yadav and filmmaker Roy, as people who had “encouraged” the anti-CAA protestors as part of a plan.
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid’s name was left out.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.