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[Published: Friday February 28 2020]

India must take tough measures against mobs, cops: CHRI

New Delhi, 27 Feb. - (ANA) – Calling on both Central and Delhi governments to take all necessary measures to
prevent further violence and disruption while fixing responsibility for police inaction and the failure of the
civil and political administration, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) today said that there
was a need for a focused review to find ways of preventing escalation.

This would include identifying tense and vulnerable pockets and deploying security personnel to prevent
further violence and protect all communities. There is ample evidence through video footage to register
cases and identify perpetrators and take firm action against propogandists of hate speech and violence as
well as emerging evidence of police brutality during the violence which grew out of confrontation over the
contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.

“The unabated rioting, mob violence, looting and arson in parts of North-east Delhi, communally charged
situation and use of small arms by some members of the crowds is a stinging indictment of the repeated
failure of the Union Government under which the Delhi Police functions,” said CHRI’s India Executive Board
in a statement, urging Government to take swift action against rioters and their instigators “without fear or
showing favour to any group or community “. The human rights body pointed out that the conditions
showed a deep malaise within the system especially the political and police leadership.

“It is not enough to fault the police: there appears to be a systemic breakdown in governance and failure to
respond to a situation which has developed over time,” CHRI said. The statement pointed out that any
inquiry, to have a lasting impact, must suggest sustainable remedial measures including whether the visit
by President Trump took away crucial police personnel and numbers at a crucial time leading to insufficient

CHRI expressed condolences to the families of those who had died in the riots, including a police officer,
and urged all political parties to create an atmosphere to instil confidence in an area gripped by fear, anger
and suspicion.

It said that lessons had not been learned from earlier eruptions in the city over the past decades -- including
the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the anti-reservation agitation of 1989 or from the various inquiries that had tried
to fix responsibility on “why the police looked the other way.” Many of these cases are still languishing in
courts with victims and their relatives struggling in the criminal justice system.

“Before the riots erupted, there was clear instigation with provocative speeches and calls to violence by
individual political leaders and groups,” said the CHRI EC, headed by Wajahat Habibullah, the former Chief
Information Commissioner. Mr. Habibullah was asked to assist the Supreme Court appointed interlocuters
seeking to resolve the issues raised by the Shaheen Bagh sit-in. Those responsible for such instigation
needed to face the full force of the law as it had led to a loss of lives and injuries destruction of private and
public property. “Time and again, from December 2019, after the violence outside Jamia Milia Islamia, it
appears as if mobs were given a free hand to attack and intimidate while police response was either
ineffectual, slow or, at worst, seemingly partisan.”  - (ANA) -

AB/ANA/28 February 2020 - - -


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