So many things of similar nature are happening in India these days that it has become difficult to remember them in proper order. Surprisingly,  there is a clear pattern in all these happenings.

Our reactions to them look pretty similar and predictable because of this pattern. We may feel a little tiresome saying the same thing again and again. But say we must. We cannot be in a state of despair. Instead, we should be more vibrant and vocal in our reactions to these happenings, otherwise, the perpetrators will be doubly motivated to continue committing similar things to destroy our social fabric and derail the rule of law, though the rule of law has already been impaired badly under the present dispensation.

The latest is the investigations conducted by the Delhi Police to the Delhi riots. It was alleged that a section of Delhi Police was in complicity with the rioters. This was discussed at many forums widely.

Here we may also remember the directives of Justice Muralidhar and Justice AJ Bhambhani to Delhi Police, following an urgent plea from counsel representing the Al Hind Hospital in Mustafabad, North East Delhi.

The hospital appealed to the court to instruct the Delhi Police to help it shift about  20 persons, injured in the riots to the government-run GTB hospital where they could receive proper treatment.

Initially, the police did not respond to its call for help and only escorted the patients when the high court intervened and ordered them to do so.

Justice Muralidhar also pulled up the Delhi police and solicitor general Tushar Mehta for not following the Lalita Kumari guidelines on registering an FIR when complaints were brought to it about the inflammatory speeches made by BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Varma and others.

Lalita Kumari guidelines mandate the registering of an FIR if a cognisable offence is disclosed, or else a time-bound enquiry.

This hearing was on an urgent petition filed by social activists Harsh Mander and Farah Naqvi. But, hours after his directives to Delhi Police, Justice Muralidhar was transferred from Delhi High Court to the High Court of Hariyana and Punjab. Quite predictably the next bench of the Delhi High Court stalled the directives of Justice Muralidharan and indirectly ruled in favour of Delhi Police.

Presently we are seeing a most brazen drama in the name of police investigations to the Delhi riots. Delhi Police didn’t do anything to people who actually abetted the rioters with their inflammatory speeches.

But they are now trying to implicate eminent political leaders, academics, cultural personalities and activists in connection with the February violence. Among these people are CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, JNU economist Jayati Gosh, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy and many others.

This is a weird perception of law on the part of Delhi Police. I think, here a letter written by the retired senior policeman and former Indian Ambassador to Romania Julio Ribeiro to the Delhi Police commissioner, S.N. Shrivastava speaks volumes about the intentions of the Delhi Police.  Below I reproduce his letter as it is.

“Dear Shri. Shrivastava, I write to you with a heavy heart. As a true patriot and a former proud member of the Indian Police Service, I appeal to you to ensure a fair probe into the 753 F.I.Rs registered against peaceful protestors who rightly apprehend injustices born from bias and hate against a minority community. The Delhi Police has taken action against peaceful protestors but deliberately failed to register cognizable offences against those who made hate speeches which triggered the riots in N.E. Delhi.  It troubles sane and apolitical persons, like me, why Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma have not been arraigned before the Courts of law while deeply-hurt Muslim women, peacefully protesting against discriminations based on religion, were lodged for months together in jail! The not-so-subtle attempt by the Delhi Police to entangle true patriots, like Harsh Mander and Prof. Apoorvanand, in criminal cases is another matter for concern.  We, the police forces in the land, and its leadership is drawn from the Indian Police Service have a duty and obligation to respect the Constitution and the enacted laws, impartially without regard to caste, creed and political affiliations. Kindly revisit the actions of the police under your command in Delhi to determine if they have been true to their oaths taken at the time of their induction into service. Yours sincerely, Julio Ribeiro, I.P.S. (Retd.) 53 MAH”

Now what more needs to be said after this letter?  Is it that in the name of investigating the Delhi riots,  Delhi Police is trying to take actions against those people who were opposed to the CAA?  Any decision of the government can be peacefully opposed and dissented by any law-abiding citizens.

This is a constitutional right because Article 19(1)(a) of Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of speech and expression and Article 19(1)(b) assures any citizen of the country to assemble peacefully without arms.

The actions of the Delhi Police clearly show that they want to criminalise any protest against the present dispensation. Unfortunately, this has become a new normal in India now. This is a sure path to lawlessness and anarchy.

Paresh Malakar

Paresh Malakar is a commentator based in Guwahati. He can be reached at: malakarparesh@gmail.com