The Delhi Minorities Commission has said in its initial assessment of the riots in the capital that they were “one-sided and well-planned in which maximum damage was inflicted on Muslim houses and shops with local support” and some rioters were put up and fed in local schools.
While the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has refrained from directly attacking the Centre and the police force, which is supervised by the Union home ministry — it’s commissions for minorities, women and child rights have been raising questions on accountability.
The minorities’ panel visited the riot-hit northeast Delhi on March 2. It has decided to set up a fact-finding team which will submit a more detailed report on the violations of rights.
The assessment of the minorities commission members, which was released on Wednesday, mentions several instances of violence and arson against the majority community, too.
The findings suggest that although Hindu and Muslim homes and establishments destroyed in several places, in others, only Muslim homes and institutions were selectively torched.
“At Bhajanpura, we found that Muslim-owned shops, like a travel agency and a motorcycle showroom, were looted and torched while Hindu-owned shops were left untouched…. In Gali No. 5 of Khajuri Khas, residents told us that violence started there late in the night of February 23 shortly after the threat and ultimatum of Kapil Mishra….
“In 3/51, Hajuri Extension, Jameel Ahmad has car repair garage where seven cars, six auto-rickshaws and nine motorcycles were burnt. He told us that Hindus took away their cars hours before the garage was torched.”
While AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, accused of involvement in the murder of an intelligence official, is mentioned in passing, BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech has been directly linked to the riots. The DMC had earlier sought an action taken report from the police on Mishra’s speech.
The assessment mentions the destruction of three schools and adds that people from outside the locality stayed in some of the schools.
“In Shiv Vihar, we found two schools which both were occupied by the goons who had come from outside the area.… Over 2,000 such people (outsiders) stayed in the two schools for over 24 hours. They used to go out in small trucks in shifts of 2-3 hours each time to execute their looting and burning mission outside. Their food was brought to them inside the school. It was clear that they had local people helping them,” says the report.
Two of the schools are owned by Hindus, including a Congress leader, and one by a Muslim. The mob used the rooftop of a school in Shiv Vihar to catapult Molotov cocktails and brickbats on majority-owned properties and an opposing mob.
The report added: “In Shivpuri, Muslims are a small minority. It is the worst affected area, we found outnumbered Muslim homes were selectively burnt and damaged. We found here Aulia Masjid which was gutted and badly damaged. The floor of the mosque was hidden by debris and two gas cylinders were lying on the floor. Apparently these could not explode. Most houses were blasted using gas cylinders taken from other houses.”
The report concludes that “without massive help, these people will not be able to rebuild their lives. We feel that the compensation announced by the Delhi government is not adequate for the purpose”.
Earlier, the Delhi Commission for Women had started an inquiry into complaints from the riot-hit areas and accused the police of inaction.
An AAP source said the government did not want to appear to be partisan in order to prevent further communal polarisation. But the commissions will hold the police to account and attempt to address cases of targeted violence and alienation of Muslims, the source added.