The violence which hit Delhi’s North East district on 23 February 2020 and continued unabated for the next few days was seemingly planned and directed to teach a lesson to a certain community which dared to protest against a discriminatory law. This was this Commission’s assessment when we paid an official day-long visit to the violence-affected area on 2 March 2020.
During that unfortunate violence, many lost their lives, hundreds got wounded and hundreds of houses, shops, offices, workshops, garages etc. were looted and put to flames. Attempts ever since are being made to shield the planners, instigators, leaders and perpetrators of that violence and turn the victims into culprits. Courts of law will play their crucial role to see through the web of deceit being woven by certain quarters including a section of media. It is encouraging that victims are coming forward to seek justice and speak out. A section of media is doing its duty to faithfully unearth the unpalatable truths.
It was within this atmosphere that Delhi Minorities Commission, guided by its mandate, especially Clauses 10(c,d,h,i) and 10(3) of DMC Act 1999, saw it necessary to try to document and unearth the truths about the sad events that shook a part of the national capital territory region.
Hence the Commission established a fact-finding committee on 9 March 2020 to probe the violence in the North East district last February and to suggest ways to achieve justice as well as help rehabilitation of the victims of the violence.
Due to the unavoidable circumstances of the lockdown, clamped soon after the formation of the said fact-finding committee, it took it longer than what was expected to accomplish this task. The committee was granted an extension upto 30 June 2020 at the request of its Chairman. Finally, the fact-finding committee presented its report on 27 June 2020. The report has been accepted with thanks by the Commission.
The report has tried to delve into the causes of violence and its perpetrators, role of police and administration, adequacy of compensation offered/promised, and the requirements of rehabilitation of the victims.
The report is fairly comprehensive and even-handed but due to the non-cooperation of Delhi Police, the fact-finding committee could not present a more comprehensive and incisive report. The committee has also studied the issue of compensation given to the victims by the Government of Delhi so far. It has come up with a number of recommendations to be implemented by the Central and state governments and by the Delhi Minorities Commission. The most important recommendation is for the government to set up a high-powered probe headed by a sitting or retired judge of the High Court. We will be writing to both the Central and state governments in support of these recommendations.
We hope that this report will help government, courts, media and general public to understand the sad events of late February 2020. Our most cherished contribution will be to contribute to the creation of an atmosphere where the kind of violence that shattered the lives of thousands in the North East Delhi becomes a thing of the past, never to be seen or experienced again.
Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Chairman
Kartar Singh Kochhar, Member
Anastasia Gill, Member
DELHI MINORITIES COMMISSIONDelhi-riots-Fact-Finding-2020