On the eve of February 23, 2020, riots broke out in Northeast Delhi between Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and pro-CAA protestors. The violence took a communal turn and led to the death of over 53 people over the course of 10 days. In the incident, more than 200 were left injured, out of which 38 were Muslims.
In February and March, at least 11 bodies were fished out of the drains in North East Delhi’s riot-affected areas. Officially, 53 people were killed in the riots and there was massive damage to property and shops owned by people from both the Hindu and the Muslim communities. In addition, a number of mosques and mausoleums were attacked.
Delhi Police, in June, started filing charge sheets in a number of cases that took place during the communal violence that engulfed India’s national capital between February and March. A report published in The Wire reveals that a charge sheet filed by Delhi Police in June has revealed for the first time the involvement of a WhatsApp group of Hindutva extremists in mobilising crowds and organising deadly acts of violence during the riots.
In a statement released by the state police, Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said, “During the investigation of these cases, it was found that when the rioting was at its peak, a ‘WhatsApp’ group was created in the night of February 26, which had 125 members. Two active members of this ‘WhatsApp’ group were located and joined in the investigation. During the investigation, their mobile phones were scanned and the specific ‘WhatsApp’ group created on February 25, was also identified. During the further investigation, it was revealed that while some members of these groups were only sending and receiving chats, few others were involved in active rioting.”
The WhatsApp Group was first named ‘Kattar Hindut Ekta (a misspelling of ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’). This was later changed to ‘Hindu Ekta Zindabad.’ The name was changed at least four times to such titles as ‘Hindu Unity’ and ‘Hindu Ekta Group.’ By March 8, 47 members had exited the WhatsApp group, according to the police.
In the report, it was found that the nature of the conversation in the group was meant to mobilise rioters, keep an eye on their respective neighbourhoods, kill “Mullahs” and share arms and ammunition. The Wire accessed about a hundred pages chats of the group, all sent between February 25 and March 8.
In one of the chats dated February 26 at 11.44 pm, a message sent on the WhatsApp group boasted of the murders of two men. It read: “Tumhare Bhai ne abhi 9 bje k krib b.vihar m 2 mulla mare hai (Your buddy has just killed two mullahs [the derogatory word used for Muslims] in Bhagirathi Vihar at around 9 pm).”
On the morning of February 27, the lifeless bodies of two brothers – Mohammad Aamir and Hashim Ali, aged 30 and 16 – were found in a drain of Bhagrirathi Vihar, covered with gory wounds.
It was seen that the messages of violence and murder were often posted with a strong sense of pride in the group. For instance, on February 25, messages included, “Ganga Vihar, Gokul Puri, Jhoripur, In sab jagha gumha Hu. Or 23 mullao k sir faade hai (I have been to Ganga Vihar, Gokul Puri, Jhoripur. And burst open 23 mullahs’ heads).”
At 10:47 pm on February 26, a message on the group read, “Bhagirathi Vihar gali no. 4 me bhi mullon ki ghusne ki khabar aa rahi hai kripya sabhi Hindu bhaiyon se anurodh hai ki bilkul tayyar rahein aur apni safety ka poora intazam rakhein aur inn mullon ki gaand phaad dengey (We heard that mullahs are now entering lane number four, Bhagirathi Vihar. I request all Hindu brothers to be prepared, take full precautions and tear them apart).”
Such messages were circulated in the group including the speech of Kapil Mishra. A video of Mishra’s speech was repeatedly posted on the Kattar Hindut Ekta WhatsApp group with the caption: “Kapil Mishra ki iss video ko sunein, samjhein, aur bahut mehnat karke poore Hindustan me bhejein kyun ki ye bahut sahi hai hundred percent desh hith me hai, itna toh kar hi sakte hain mere dost (Listen to Kapil Mishra on this video, understand it and make the effort to send it across India because it is in favour of the nation. Friends, you can do this much at least).”
Many times, messages claimed that a “riot” had started in a particular area and that others should get there as soon as possible. In response, group members would ask for locations to be posted on the group.
The police have, so far, seized the mobile phones of 12 members of this group allegedly linked to Delhi riots. The messages on the group, according to the police will be considered voluntary confessions to be used in court. The charge sheet filed in the case identifies 11 accused, nine of whom have been arrested. The nine men have been charged with murder, rioting with a deadly weapon and criminal conspiracy. займ под залог земельного участказайм на карту круглосуточно с открытыми просрочкамизайм 24 часа взят займзайм для погашения займазайм на 2 месяца без процентов