Delhi HC says we cannot let another 1984-like riots

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

The court was referring to the anti-Sikh riots that killed over 3,000 people in Delhi alone.

Delhi High Court

New Delhi: In a strongly-worded message to the government — both at the Centre and in Delhi — to work together to combat the unrelenting violence that hit parts of the nation’s capital for the fourth consecutive day, the Delhi high court on Wednesday said it “cannot let another 1984-like riot to happen” in the country.

The court also expressed  “anguish” over the Delhi Police’s failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders on the CAA-linked violence, asking the police commissioner to take a “conscious decision” on it by Thursday.

The court asked the special commissioner of police, who was present at the hearing, to forthwith convey its “anguish” to the commissioner and observed that the city had seen enough violence and it should not see another 1984-type anti-Sikh riots-like situation.

“We can’t let another 1984 scenario happen in this city; not under the watch of this court,” Justice S. Muralidhar observed, adding: “We heard that one IB officer has been attacked. These things should be immediately looked into.”

The court was referring to the anti-Sikh riots that killed over 3,000 people in Delhi alone.

A bench of Justices Muralidhar and Talwant Singh said when the police can register 11 FIRs in incidents like arson, looting and stone-pelting, why did it not show alacrity when it came to alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders — Anurag Thakur (also a Union minister), MP Parvesh Verma and former Delhi minister Kapil Mishra.

The bench said: “Why are you not showing alacrity when it comes to registration of FIR in these cases?... We want peace to prevail. We do not want the city to witness another 1984 riots. This city has seen enough violence and anguish. Let it not repeat 1984.”

The court’s comment came after it watched a video of Mishra, who has a history of making hate-filled communal rants, make yet another incendiary speech in northeast Delhi’s Maujpur neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon, after which major violence erupted in the area.

The court noted in its order that special commissioner Praveer Ranjan has assured he will sit with the police commissioner on Wednesday itself and view all video clips and take a conscious decision on the issue of lodging of FIRs and convey it to the court on Thursday.

It made it clear it was not confining the proceedings to the video clips of these three BJP leaders, and the court will look into other clips as well.

In a local court, the Delhi Police said on Wednesday that prima facie no cognisable offence was found for lodging FIRs against Thakur and Verma for their  alleged hate speech in relation to the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh.

The submissions were made in an action taken report, filed before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Vishal Pahuja, who was hearing a complaint by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat seeking FIRs against Thakur and Verma.

The court, which reserved orders for March 2 on whether to direct the police to lodge FIRs, had on February 5 directed it to file an ATR.

In the ATR filed Wednesday, the police said legal opinion had been sought in the matter and requested the court to grant more time to file the final report, court sources said.