On August 6, the Times of India had published an editorial titled, “Capital aberration: Delhi police, shamed by rioters in February”, in which it went on to castigate Delhi Police for its investigation into both anti-CAA protests and the subsequent Anti-Hindu riots that rocked the national capital in February this year.
In the article, claiming that the northeast Delhi riots of February were a traumatic moment, the editors at Times of India compared the February riots to the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. Blaming the politician-police nexus, the ToI article said that the February riots have reopened old wounds.
It is interesting to note, that witness statements in the chargesheet related to the murder of Ratan Lal also said that DS Bindra, who was hailed as a champion by the media, had also instigated rioters by saying the same thing. The statement by a Muslim witness says that DS Bindra used to tell the Muslims there that if CAA and NRC are implemented, Muslims would meet the fate that Sikhs met during the 1984 pogrom.
Further, questioning the Delhi Police for interrogating Delhi University professor Apoorvanand for his role in the Anti-CAA protests, the Times of India in its article alleged that the investigators were trying to spin a deceptive narrative. It claimed that the Delhi Police was trying to bring a false equivalence between dissent and rioting, which according to them was “absurd and self-defeating”.
“Dissent makes democracy meaningful and representative. CAA and NRC were riddled with enough biases and procedural dangers that a significant section of society, not least its youth and Muslim citizens, felt compelled to come out in peaceful protest. Months later, Delhi police seem to be making little distinction between criminal conspiracy and peaceful protest in that multitude of anti-CAA voices. The stringent anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with its restrictions on bail, a record of lengthy incarcerations, and abysmal conviction rate at the end of much harassment, is a warning few with a mind to dissent can ignore,” the Times of India report claimed.
Further, blaming Delhi police for not quelling riots, the Times of India article had accused the police personnel of barging into a Jamia library to assault unarmed students.
“Police’s distraction with dissent could be their ticket to exoneration. Every rioter spared, on specious religious grounds as a reported top cop note to subordinate cops hinted, is an invitation to more rioting. Police must stop chasing shadows,” the Times of India editors lamented over the manner in which Delhi Police was carrying out the probe into Anti-CAA and Anti-Hindu riots.
Delhi Police responds to Times of India editorial on the Delhi Riots investigation
A day after Times of India published its editorial on the Delhi-riots investigation, the Delhi Police on Friday wrote a detailed response to counter all the claims made by ToI in its editorial.
The Delhi Police, stating that the editorial was loaded with innuendos and insinuations of a kind, explained how it was wrong on part of the editors at ToI to call the lawful interrogation of Apoorvanand as “absurd and self-defeating”.
Quipping the editors, the Delhi Police said that they have neither issued a press note for summoning Apoorvanand nor have put information regarding the same in the public domain, to ask why did they jump the gun. The Delhi Police also added that they cannot be seeking guidance from the author of the article as to whom to examine during the course of the investigation.
“Is he trying to pressurize the police into abstaining from its lawful duties?,” asked Delhi Police raising doubts over the intentions of ToI editors. The Delhi Police said that the insinuations made by ToI was nothing but ‘thinly-veiled, but doomed, attempt at influencing the investigation itself.
Responding to allegation of Delhi Police shaming the rioters, the Delhi Police in a fierce reply said that the whole society was shamed and taken aback by the violence and they did what they were supposed to do to restore order and carry out meticulous investigation to bring the culprits to book.
The Delhi Police also slammed the authors for their inability to understand criminal jurisprudence and differentiate between the act of conspiring to commit the crime to actually committing the crime itself. The Delhi police said, with a skewed understanding, the author has attempted to create a false narrative that the actual rioters will be spared.
Delhi Police categorically stated that they have the capability and the resolve to bring all those responsible for the riots and said that they have already arrested more than 1500 accused and registered more than 750 cases in connection with the Anti-CAA and the Anti-Hindu Delhi riots in the national capital.
Responding to the allegations of Delhi Police’s investigation into riots will curb dissent and imperil democracy, they said the claim is unfounded as the process of investigation of criminal cases has several checks and balances.
“Democracy is neither protected by uttering homilies nor by penning hastily-put-together articles short on facts and expertise but replet with rhetorics and platitudes,” Delhi Police slammed the editors of Times of India for making such wild accusations.
Concluding their response, the Delhi Police said it was confident of its investigation, which is being carried out in a fair and professional manner, which is solely based on evidence. The Delhi Police said the article like the one ToI published, will only strengthens and fortify their resolve to spare no effort to peel away the cunningly spun web of lies and deception and expose the despicable truth which lies at the heart of this conspiracy.
The Delhi Police also asked the editors of Times of India to publish the rejoinder in the op-ed page of the Delhi edition of Times of India.