Justice is becoming a rare and inaccessible commodity in India. This is so especially in the case of Muslims and other deprived and underrepresented sections of society. The Welfare Party of India organised a People’s Tribunal in New Delhi on August 31 to highlight the mental torture and further victimisation of the victims of the infamous North East Delhi anti-Muslim riots in February 2020.
The jury consisted of Justice S.S. Parkar, former Judge of Bombay High Court; eminent senior Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan, and other prominent human rights activists like Syeda Syedain Hameed, Advocate Gayatri Ghosh and Dr. Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas.
People have not forgotten that 53 innocent lives were lost in these disturbances. These riots were orchestrated with the active connivance of Delhi police. BBC and scores of T.V. channels had shown the active support of the police personnel to the rioters. In the worst travesty of justice in most cases the victims have been made the culprits. And a number of people have been charged under the draconian anti-terror law UAPA. Prashant Bhushan severely criticised the 5-lakh-page chargesheet against the victims. He said that if he had been the judge, he would have simply thrown the chargesheet papers. He further said who can read these 5 lakh pages. It is only a conspiracy to continue the case for a long period. He further said that unless the erring officers are taken to task and punished accordingly nothing good can come out.
Among the charge-sheeted victims there are journalists, social servants and human rights activists. False charges have been levelled against them and no progress is visible in the corridors of justice.
Several close relatives of the victims described how the families of these falsely accused persons have been suffering. Umar Khalid’s mother, Khalid Saifi’s wife and Athar Aalam’s mother were among those who spoke about the atrocities and mental torture they have been facing. M.Phil. student of Jamia Millia Islamia Safoora Zargar described how she was dismissed from her M.Phil. course.
What was the crime of these victims? Only that they used their fundamental rights and opposed the illegal and ill-intentioned Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA); otherwise, there is no iota of truth in the allegations of their involvement in the riots. Some of these accused are being presented as the masterminds of the riots.
And those instigators who kindled the fire of violence are still scot-free. Some ‘golden quotes’ through which they instigated the riots: “Desh ke ghaddaron ko goli maro … ko,” “When you press the button (of EVM) on February 8, do so with such anger that its current is felt at Shaheen Bagh,” “Your vote to BJP candidate will make Delhi and the country safe and prevent thousands of incidents like Shaheen Bagh,” “The people of Delhi know that the fire that raged in Kashmir a few years ago, where daughters and sisters of Kashmiri pandits were raped… the same fire raging in a corner of Delhi… this fire can reach the residences of Delhi any time. People of Delhi have to decide wisely. These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, and kill them. There is time today. Modi and Amit Shah will not come to save you tomorrow.” These and similar provocative statements have been documented in the Report of Delhi Minorities Commission Fact-Finding Committee on North East Delhi riots of February 2020. You can access this report on website also.