“It is only when the Model Code of Conduct is enforced that the Election Commission takes note of any such event(s)/incident(s), which have the potential of disturbing and/or disrupting the smooth conduct of the electoral process,” – Election Commission of India
Right to Information Activist, Saket Gokhale took to twitter yesterday and revealed the illegitimate behaviour of the Election Commission of India and Delhi Police.
The Delhi Police had been investigating the North-East Delhi Pogrom which happened in February earlier this year. The riots took place after Kapil Mishra, a BJP candidate coined hateful communal slogans near the Jaffrabad Metro Station, a prime protest site for the Anti-CAA movement. Violence erupted in parts of North East Delhi on February 23 this year soon after BJP leader Kapil Mishra made a short speech calling for forcefully removing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters at Jafrabad, a “Report of the Fact-Finding Committee on the North-East Delhi Riots of February 2020” has noted. In all, 53 people were killed in the violence while hundreds were injured and property worth hundreds of crores was destroyed. While the case directed towards the speech incited by Sharma, no arrests have been made. The narratives have shifted multiple times where complaints of Muslim residents have not been registered. Journalists of The Caravan Magazine have been physically and verbally assaulted in the area of North-East Delhi.
Even today, a proper case has not been built and no formal arrests have taken place. The trauma and agony of the riots still burn in Delhi.
The Election Commission in India had issued an order dated 10th December 2008. The guidelines of sharing electoral rolls with various government departments have been laid down which made sure that the database shall not be shared owning to breach of privacy and misuse of personal information.
According to Gokhale, the ECI’s letter to the Delhi CEO clearly states that “the electoral database of entire AC/District should not be shared with the Police Authorities”.
Gokhale also shared the letter on Twitter, which gives the context in which the Delhi police sought the sensitive data. The police wanted the address and photographs of residents, as available in the electoral roll of the North-East Shahdara and East Delhi districts, for the purpose of matching with the photographs of culprits captured through CCTV. “ECI broke these rules & made these full voter lists available to police,” he tweeted. He has accused the ECI of violation of its own regulations; however, the organisation has disagreed completely. The ECI clarified, “It is hereby clarified that the Commission has not in any way deviated from the original guidelines of 2008 and clarificatory orders of 2020 in any manner,” it said.
There has been no clear idea of what actually went down. The ECI has clearly denied any such claim. Gokhale bent down and attacked how the media only focussed on the CWC meeting and ignored a claim like so. With Delhi Riots, the oppressors have yet to be held accountable. Besides, even if such a discourse had taken place, the ECI and police department must have come clean at the very beginning of the investigation.