NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 5—Over 1000 citizens from different walks of life have raised questions over the manner in which the Delhi police have been conducting the probe into the northeast Delhi riots cases.
In a signed statement sent to the Delhi police commissioner SN Srivastava, they appealed him to take urgent steps to ensure confidence of the confidence of the public in police investigation.
Citing strong evidence of coerced ‘confessional’ statements and ‘manufactured’ evidence, the signatories have sought assurances from the Police Commissioner that these practices are stopped and demanded a fair and impartial investigation to book the real culprits of the riots.
They said that they were alarmed over the Delhi police investigators allegedly manufacturing a case against former JNU researcher Umar Khalid through ‘extorted’ statements. The allegations in this regard have been made by Umar Khalid in his letter to Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava on September 1.
The letter, according the statement, reveals that a young man was interrogated by the Delhi Police Special Cell and a false confession against Umar Khalid, related to Delhi riots, was extracted and videotaped. The young man was threatened that he would be arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) if he refused to sign on the dotted lines. The youth submitted to the coercion for he was scared, and yet, his conscience allowed him to speak up about what had transpired.
“We are gravely concerned that Dr. Umar Khalid, a young scholar, already vilified and targetted relentlessly by a section of the media, is now being implicated in riots cases on the basis of manufactured evidence. Umar Khalid is not above law, and must support any police investigation. But when the process of law is sought to be short-circuited and undermined, then any citizen’s liberty is gravely threatened. Other people have also earlier reported being coerced during police interrogation in Delhi riots cases”, the statement said.
Alleging that the police investigation were ‘manufactured’ and not fair, the statement said that there were four identical ‘confessional’statements in the Ankit Aharma chargesheet, and seven identical statements in the Ratal Lal chargesheet filed by Dayalpur police station and 10 identical statements in the Jaffarabad police station chargesheet.
The statement said that in the chargesheet of the Dilbar Negi case (FIR number 39/20) under Gokulpuri police station, 9 out of 12 confessional statement were near verbatim copies of each other.
Stating that “this pattern of coerced statements and false evidence is alarming”, signatories asked the Delhi police to conduct a fair and just investigation and book the real culprits involved in the riots which resulted in death of 53 persons, injuries to hundreds of others and destruction of properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
Pointing out that the manner in which the investigations are going on and anti-CAA protesters are being targeted, holding them responsible for the riots, the statement said it has weakened the faith of the people in investigating agencies.
Stating that the dreaded UAPA was invoked against the CAA protesters to give a colour of conspiracy against the state, they demanded to drop UAPA charges against all the accused in the case.
Among the important signatories include filmmaker Aparna Sen, former bureaucrat Jawahar Sircar, historian Ramchandra Guha, former chairperson of Delhi Minorities Commission Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, former governor Margaret Alva, academics Zoya Hasan, Partha Chatterjee, Jayati Ghosh, Poonam Batra, Nivedita Menon, Sucharita Sen, former senior civil servants Wajahat Habibullah, Madhu Bhaduri, Deb Mukherjee, Amitabha Pande, Sundar Burra, Aditi Mehta, feminists and trans-rights activists – Meera Sanghamitra, Vani Subramanian, Chayanika Shah, Hasina Khan, Journalists Vidya Subrahmaniam, Geeta Seshu, Manoj Mitta, Anjali Mody, Antara Dev Sen, Priyanka Borpujari, political leaders Brinda Karat, Annie Raja, Kavita Krishnan, artists Kiran Sehgal, Shuddabrata Sengupta & writer Aruna Vasudev, Social activists including Magsasay Awardees Aruna Roy and Sandeep Pandey, democratic rights activists Jagdeep Chhokar, Henri Tiphane, Teesta Setalvad, John Dayal, Lara Jesani, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ramdas, scientist Amitabha Basu.