As many as 755 first information reports were registered and 1,829 people arrested in connection with the violence in northeast Delhi last year, the Centre informed Parliament on Wednesday.
In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that special investigation teams of the Delhi Police were investigating 62 of the FIRs related to “heinous cases”, while a Special Cell was probing the “criminal conspiracy behind the riots”. The northeast district of the Delhi Police was looking into the remaining 692 cases, Reddy said.
Several student leaders and activists have been booked in relation to the violence and charged with stringent sections including sedition and those under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Reddy was replying to a question by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Ketkar.
Charge sheets in 353 cases have been submitted to courts, the minister said. Significantly, both the Delhi High Court and a sessions court in the city pulled up the police earlier this month for leaking charge sheets to the media.
“Investigation is carried out, in all cases, based on facts and evidence, using the latest scientific techniques, without regard to the affiliation/identity of the alleged individuals,” the government’s reply on Wednesday stated. Last month, in a response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Reddy had said that the Delhi Police acted in a “swift and impartial manner”, while dealing with the violence.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 last year in North East Delhi, killing at least 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.
The Delhi Police claim that the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Amendment Act. They also claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.