The deep-rooted conspiracy which culminated into a full-blown riot in North East Delhi was well planned, participated and executed
-Dr Geeta Bhatt
The ultra left Pinjra-Tod group has emerged as one of conspiring
organisations in institigating Delhi Riots along with PFI, Tablighi Jammat etc
A resident of Yamuna Vihar in North East Delhi, Preeti Garg found herself surrounded by a mob in the afternoon of February 24 2020. Her house was set on fire, and she had no choice but to jump from her first-floor house to save herself and the life of her children. She had fear still looming large in her eyes while talking to the fact-finding committee of Call for Justice, an independent body investigating the communal violence which rocked the capital. This is one among many heart wrenching and soul-stirring incidents one comes across. Unprecedented violence in the most densely populated area of Delhi left 53 dead and hundreds injured in the last week of February. Citizen Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) had been used as a tool to vent out discontentment by the pseudo-secular and anti-national cabal over the reinstatement of the nation in its complete integration and cultural ethos through the momentous turn of events where Article 370 was shown the door, Ram Mandir received the nod of the judiciary, and Muslim women were empowered by abolishing the medieval practice of Triple Talaq.
The deep-rooted conspiracy which culminated into extreme violence, arson and burning down of life and property in North East Delhi, was well planned, participated and executed by many– some have been identified, some are being investigated, and some have managed to remain at large due to lack of evidence. Those who have been arrested and investigated upon for instigating the riots share either similar background or ambitions- Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), Pinjra Tod, Alumni Association of Jamia Milia Islamia, Popular Front of India (PFI) and ultra-left groups being the prominent organisations associated with the anti CAA protests. Safoora Zargar, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Meeran Haider and Faisal Farooque have been charged by the investigating agencies to be actively involved along with Tahir Hussain, Umar Khalid as some of the key organisers of anti-CAA protests.
Most of them had the same script while propagating the false narrative of ‘Muslims in danger’. Each of their speeches would begin with a ‘Jauhar Salaam’ to the audience, hailing one of the founders and first Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Milia Islamia University, Mohmad Ali Jauhar. Jauhar was the torchbearer of the pan-Islamist political protest campaign, Khilafat Movement in India, a staunch supporter of saving the holy places of Islam from non-Muslim encroachments and had raised a campaign and succeeded in restoring a mosque in Kanpur in 1913 which was being partially demolished to build a road. A common ground in the anti CAA speeches was associating Jauhar with Mahatma Gandhi and latter’s support to the Khilafat movement.
There are many dots which still needs to be joined to understand the larger picture and scheme of things to understand the Delhi riots conspiracy
Safoora Zargar, one of the arrested conspirators in the riots has been charged with criminal activities including rioting, possession of arms, attempt to murder, incitement of violence, sedition, murder, and promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). A sociology student of Jamia Milia University (JMI)who hails from Kashmir, Safoora has been defiantly calling the Prime Minister of India and the Home Minister as terrorists in her speeches during the anti CAA protests. Twisting the quotes of Babasaheb Ambedkar, she has been accusing those who support National Register for Citizens (NRC) as Islamophobic. She has been drawing parallels between the Batala House encounter in which Indian Mujahideen terrorists were killed in 2008, with the cracking down of anti CAA protestors on illegal occupation of the public property which has been causing inconvenience to millions of Indian citizens. A narrative is being built in the social media to push for her release after it was reported that she was found pregnant during a medical examination. It is being projected that it is illegal to detain Safoora in this condition. Her medical condition is not unique, and neither it is the first case of an expectant mother to be in jail. Tihar Jail, on an average, is reported to witness a delivery every three months. Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 under Delhi Prisons Act, provides for guidelines to provide medical care and extra protein and minerals in the diet of the expecting mothers in the jail. Delhi prisons also provide for a creche and nursery school in association with NGOs.
Ratan Lal and Ankit Sharma - a police Constable and IB officer
respectively were the main victims of planed conspiracy called Delhi Riots
Meeran Haidar is a 35-year-old, heading the Delhi Youth wing of political Party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) who has been enrolled in many courses at JMI and at present, has taken admission in Ph.D. He has been part of many anti-government movements in the past. It has been alleged that Meeran is in police custody as he had mobilised rioters in the capital along with his associates and was present in the Chand Bagh area during the riots. His rhetoric, like other JCC members was focussed on police atrocities on Jamia students during anti CAA protests, challenging the concept of Hindu Rashtra. His public address, before the general elections of 2019, were focussed on throwing the present Modi government out of power.
Shifa-Ur-Rehman, has been taken in police custody for his alleged involvement in the riots based on CCTV footage. A member of Jamia Coordination Committee, he was booked under the UAPA act for alleged involvement in the riots at Jamia Nagar, Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur, Khureji, Inderlok and Hauz Rani. His call records and messages are said to have revealed his involvement in anti- Hindu incitement. It is reported that during interrogation, Shifa’s name surfaced to have received funding from the alumni association of JMI which is based in middle east countries.
Faisal Farooque, the owner of Rajdhani School at Shiv Vihar has been accused in the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police for misusing his school premises for targeting parking areas and DRS school in the vicinity. As Tahir Husain used his house as a den for targeting and attacking Hindu homes at Chand Bagh, the rooftop of Farooque’s school was used for throwing stones, petrol bombs, acid packets and using catapults. It has been alleged that phone details of Farooque indicate his links with prominent members of Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group, JCC and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz. Farooque had also visited Deoband on February 23, just one day before the riots began in the Shiv Vihar.
Khalid Saifi, founder of an organisation called ‘United Against Hate’ is a close aid of Umar Khalid. UAH had been actively campaigning against CAA and found mention in the speech of the Home Minister Amit Shah in the parliament. Saifi is reported to have arranged a meeting between Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain to organise protests during the visit of the US President Donald Trump. His social media profiles show his proximity with many AAP party leaders including Manish Sisodia and journalists like Ravish Kumar, Rajdeep Sardesai and Arfa Khanum. Umar Khalid who has been notoriously associated in the past with the Tuke Tukde gang and the pro separatists had called upon with provocative statements at a rally, at Amravati to be on the roads the day US president was to visit India.
Large amount of money transaction by Popular Front of India in 73 bank accounts has been reported by The Enforcement Directorate (ED) to fund anti-CAA protest. Many leaders of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have also found mention in the report submitted by the ED. The Rehab Foundation, an NGO has also been involved in the money transaction where each deposit was deliberately kept under Rs.50000/- to hide the identity of the depositors.
Such colossal loss of human life and property that shook the social fabric of the city could not have been executed by a few ultra-left student groups and anti-establishment organisations. Political leaders, self-proclaimed human rights and civil rights activists who were part of the anti CAA protest, vociferously claiming it to be their democratic right would not be able to account for the culmination of the dissent in this form of brutal violence and killings. Harsh Mander, who was part of many crucial decision-making bodies in the UPA government, had visited the protest site at Jamia stating that time has come to decide the fate on the streets. He did not mince his words in targeting the Supreme Court for not defending secularism while giving the Ayodhya Verdict. Mander is incidentally the Chairman of the Advisory Board of an NGO, Open Society Foundation, which is owned by none other than US billionaire George Soros, who has been an open critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An NGO run by Mander, called Karwan-e-Mohabbat which actively participated in the Shaheen Bagh protests, is reportedly funded by the George Soros Foundation. There are many dots which still needs to be joined to understand the larger picture and scheme of things to understand the Delhi riots conspiracy.
The eyewitnesses and locals when put together the timeline of the incidents which took place between 23 and 25 February, clearly show that the Muslim community in the areas of Yamuna Vihar, Shiv Vihar and adjacent areas had a sense of the connivance that was at play to hit hard on the communal harmony of the area. Locals in their testimony have revealed that Muslim schools were closed on the fateful day. Those children who were in schools belonging to non-Muslims were picked up by their parents before noon citing that some unforeseen was about to happen. Call for Justice while taking testimonies of the locals found that one of the branches of HDFC Bank, where Manager belonged to the Muslim Community, was also closed on the fateful day. The particular time chosen for the attacks was when only women, along with their children were present, and men were out for work. The rioters were well prepared with sticks, petro bombs and other weapons. Social media accounts were used to spread fake news, create misinformation, propaganda for inciting the public. Many social media and phone accounts forwarded the messages more than a thousand times.
Locals in their testimony have revealed that Muslim schools were closed on the fateful day
The February violence ended up taking lives of 53 people including one IB official and two Delhi Police personals, injuring more than 200 people, damaging 92 houses, 57 shops, 500 vehicles, six godowns, two schools, four factories, and four religious places to a tune of Rs. 1000 crores. Many lessons have been taught and learnt by the communities, people, administration and the leadership post-North east Delhi riots. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of all citizens and cannot be abused by a select section to burden the collective conscious of the nation. While confidence-building measures to restore the normalcy in the area is the immediate call for the administrative authorities, identifying the perpetrators of misinformation on social media and holding them accountable to curtail and bust the lies and fake news web, will keep a check on such dangerous plots. Exclusive Cyber policing cells will help in pre-empting subversive activities which dedicatedly work towards exploiting and further widening the socio-economic fault lines of the society. The larger goal is to defeat the nefarious rackets which want to dent the integrity and sovereignty of our nation. Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.”
(The writer is at present Director, Non- Collegiate Women’s Education Board, University of Delhi)