New Delhi, April 18 (PTI): CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat and the party’s Delhi state committee secretary K M Tewari have alleged that the Hanuman Jayanti procession taken out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri was armed, with several men carrying “swords, lathis and firearms”, days after communal violence broke out in the area.
In a letter to the Delhi police commissioner, the duo have also raised questions over the role of the force in the incident.
“Video evidence aired on several television channels, along with eyewitness reports to our fact-finding team, is conclusive evidence that the procession taken out by members of the youth wing of the Bajrang Dal was armed, with several men carrying naked swords, lathis and also, shockingly, firearms.
“These weapons were openly flaunted and brandished during the procession. The police have stated that the procession had police permission. Did the police give permission to carry arms? In fact, the processionists who carried arms had clearly violated the Arms Act, which has stringent provisions of imprisonment for such violations,” the letter read.
It also said from the police commissioner’s statements to the media, it is unclear whether those carrying arms during the procession were identified or not.
“If so, whether they have been arrested under the relevant provisions of law, including the Arms Act. It is also unclear from your statement whether there is any investigation into the role of the police.
“Who is accountable for allowing an armed procession to stop in front of a mosque, shouting provocative and aggressive slogans at the exact time when the prayers to break the Roza fast were scheduled to begin? Such deliberate acts of omission and commission by the police have directly resulted in the ensuing incidents,” the letter written by the Left leaders read.
While both the leaders raised the issue of injuries suffered by police personnel during the violence, they also asked if senior officers had followed due diligence in the matter.
“…if adequate police arrangements had been made, if action had been taken against weapon-carrying processionists, if the procession had not been allowed to stop in front of the mosque — the incidents would not have taken place. It should be noted that there have never been incidents of a communal nature in this area earlier. Two communities have lived together in harmony. This is further evidence that the events were manufactured by outsiders in the procession in the name of shobha yatra,” the letter read.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders also said they have information that male police personnel raided houses in C block at night and “manhandled and beat up women”.
“This is against all norms and rules laid down, which forbid male police personnel to touch a woman. Further, on the 17th (April), when our members along with others had met additional DCP Kishen Kumar at the Jahangirpuri police station, they were shocked to find that leaders of the BJP were holding a press conference within the compound of the thana. This is highly irregular and strengthens the apprehension of an entirely partisan and biased police role in the present case,” the letter read.
The leaders appealed to the commissioner to take action against the police personnel who allowed weapons to be carried during the procession, who were responsible for the lack of adequate arrangements, who allowed the procession to stop in front of a mosque and those conducting a “one-sided, biased” investigation.
“You have stated that people from both communities have been arrested. We stand for the arrest and punishment of all those guilty. However, the overwhelming majority of arrests is from the minority community, whereas the course of events shows that the main provocations and planning for the incidents were done by the organisation which held the procession – an affiliate of the Bajrang Dal as stated by the police.
“The Crime Branch, to whom the investigation has been handed over, is under the overall jurisdiction of the very police force which in the case of the Jahangirpuri incident is responsible. It is for this reason that the CPI(M) has demanded a time-bound judicial inquiry or an impartial investigation. In the meanwhile, we request you to take action against the police responsible,” the letter read.
Delhi police commissioner Rakesh Asthana on Monday said 23 people from both the communities have so far been arrested in connection with the Jahangirpuri violence and refuted claims that attempts were made to hoist saffron flags at a mosque during the Hanuman Jayanti procession.
At a media briefing, Asthana asserted that those involved in the violent clashes will not be spared irrespective of their class, creed or religion.
“There was no attempt to hoist any saffron flag at the mosque during the procession,” he said.
Several politicians and social media users had alleged that some people tried to hoist a flag on a mosque in Jahangirpuri that led to stone-pelting and violence.