Charges Against Police Over Delhi Riots Probe Can Be "Motivated": Top Cop

4 months ago 44
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 Top Cop

Delhi was rocked by violence in February and at least 53 died in the violence (File)

New Delhi:

Accusations against police over its probe into the northeast Delhi violence could be "motivated" and are also directed at the court of law, the chief of the force, SN Shrivastava, has said.

In February, the northeastern parts of Delhi were rocked by violence that claimed at least 53 lives and injured many people.

The police have been criticised for their handling of the investigation in various quarters, including by student activists, filmmakers and civil society groups, who have accused the force of carrying out a "witchhunt" at a time when the country is battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Shrivastava said whether there is a lockdown or not, law-and-order issues will have to be handled with precautions.

"You can also expect many such accusations to be motivated and coming from people who may have reasons to make false accusations," he said over the phone.

Mr Shrivastava asserted that the Delhi Police is a "credible force", which has carried out the investigation into the northeast Delhi violence "with full responsibility" and has "been very fair and transparent".

For those raising questions against the force, he said the police have the power to confine a person and make an arrest but within 24 hours, they need to produce him in a court.

The arrests made in connection with the northeast Delhi violence have been sanctioned and approved by the court of law, the police commissioner said.

He said if there are accusations against the police, then those are also directed at the court of law and stressed that they cannot keep a person under arrest beyond 24 hours unless they have the sanction and approval of the court concerned.

"So do they mean that the courts are also influenced, which is not the case," he said.

The police were heavily criticised for arresting several students in connection with the northeast Delhi violence, including Jamia Millia Islamia University students Safoora Zargar, who is four months pregnant, and Meeran Haider, and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal.

A city court has on multiple occasions dismissed the bail plea of Safoora Zargar, charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case related to the northeast Delhi violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in February. Safoora Zargar, an MPhil student, is currently under judicial custody in the Tihar jail.

Without referring to any particular arrest, Mr Sririvastava reiterated that all arrests have the sanction of the court of law.

"How can you make an allegation against the court of law? It is very easy to make an allegation, but one needs to substantiate it. So these are legal things and I would say, instead of going to the social media, the best place is the court of law. Take it up legally," he said.

The Delhi Police recently said it has submitted chargesheets in 78 cases related to the violence naming 410 people - 205 Hindus, 205 Muslims. This was not by any design but due to impartial investigation, it had said.

Mr Shrivastava's appointment came at a time after the city had faced the violence and soon after taking charge as the police chief, he had said his priority was to restore peace and ensure communal harmony in the national capital, which witnessed its worst-ever violence in February.

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