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Amnesty International accuses Delhi Police of Human Rights violations in Delhi Riots

On Friday, Amnesty International released a detailed report documenting human rights violations committed by the Delhi Police during the February 2020 Delhi riots. Six months ago, riots broke out in North East Delhi which went on for about three to six days and as per government data 53 lives were lost and more than 500 people got injured in these riots.

The aftermath of Delhi riots. Source: BBC

Amnesty International, an NGO that works for human rights across the globe has released an investigative briefing accusing the Delhi Police of committing human rights violations which involve ‘indulging in violence with rioters, torturing in custody, using excessive force on protestors, and dismantling protest sites used by peaceful protesters’. The report has also accused the police of being ‘mute bystanders’ as rioters wreaked havoc.

The riots took place over a span of six days from 23rd to 29th February and six months have passed since these riots. During this time, the Delhi Police has filed more than 750 FIRs and about 200 chargesheets. The report has mentioned that the Delhi Police has arrested students, professors, and human rights activists who had played an instrumental role in organizing protests as the chief conspirators of the riots meanwhile ‘not even a single political leader that made hate speeches which advocated violence’ has been prosecuted.

On March 11, Union Home Minister of India Amit Shah had said, “Controlling and putting a full-stop to riots in just 36 hours in a dense area is a very difficult task. I must say that Delhi Police did a commendable job”. The Amnesty International India report refutes this claim and says that the investigations instead point towards ‘rampant impunity’ from the side of the police. The report documents ‘Delhi police’s inadequate response in preventing the riots’, ‘complicity and active participation in violence’ and excessive use of force on protestors, differential treatment of assemblies, and denial of medical services to victims.

The report mentions that the investigation undertaken by Amnesty International India includes interviews with more than 50 riot survivors, eye witnesses, lawyers, human rights activists, and retired police officers. It has also analyzed several videos on platforms like Twitter. To authenticate these videos, Amnesty International India collaborated with Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab which used ‘cutting edge open source and digital investigation tools to corroborate and analyze’ these human rights violations.

The Amnesty International India has called on to the Ministry of Home Affairs to initiate a prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation .

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