The sharp exchange of divergent opinions involving a section of former IPS officers and Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava over north-east Delhi riots has intensified. Retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro has said Shrivastava has not addressed his doubts as to why speeches by some BJP leaders were ignored in the investigation.
The Delhi Police on Wednesday filed a 17,000-page chargesheet under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA) and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against 15 people for allegedly conspiring and orchestrating communal riots in north-east Delhi in February. This was said to be the culmination of the first phase of Delhi Police’s probe.
Ribeiro’s comeback on Wednesday to Shrivastava’s email response to the former IPS officer’s open letter mentioned “communal” speeches of BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma.
“I realize that it is difficult, indeed impossible, to justify the licence given to the three BJP stalwarts I named — licence to rant, rave and threaten those who were peacefully protesting the perceived wrongs. If the speakers were Muslims or Leftists, the police would have surely taken them in for sedition,” wrote Ribeiro.
The retired officer was former Mumbai police commissioner, DGP Gujarat and Punjab, and former Indian Ambassador to Romania.
He also said Shrivastava “doubted the patriotism” of activists Harsh Mander and DU Professor Apoorvanand who he had named as “true patriots”. “Harsh and Apoorvanand are Gandhians. I should have remembered that Gandhians have lost favour with this regime!” he said.
Ribeiro said he thought about what he would do if he was in Shrivastava’s place and had to “dispel the doubts that your retired brother officers still have about the Delhi Police investigation into the NE Delhi riots”.
“I would quickly file the chargesheet in all 753 cases, including specially the conspiracy case registered by your Special Cell and get the evidence authenticated in a court of law. More importantly, I would not prolong the UAPA case by arresting persons just a day or two before the time limit expires for filing the chargesheet,” he wrote.
In his previous open letter, Ribeiro had said Delhi Police was taking action against “peaceful protesters” while ignoring senior BJP leaders who made provocative, communal public speeches in the build-up to the violence while “true patriots” like Harsh Mander and Apoorvanand were being entangled in criminal cases.
Shrivastava had defended the investigation, saying the police “had questioned persons without regard to their religion and party affiliation” and “collected documentary evidence, including scientific evidence, to support its case”.