In the resolution passed by the meeting of National Executive Council, the Popular Front of India has stated that the violence that rocked North East Delhi for four days starting from 23 February was not a standalone incident of conflict between two sides but a communal pogrom against Muslim community planned and perpetrated by right wing Hindutva leaders and their follower mobs.
The violence was the result of a series of communal propaganda and provocative speeches openly advocating violence that have been going at local and national level targeting Muslims. The Delhi Police and a section of media colluded with Sangh Parivar in manufacturing bigotry and hatred against Muslims. The underlying message was that Muslims in the country should not use their democratic rights to voice against discriminatory government policies.
The attacks were pre-planned as the Muslim houses and properties were marked in advance. According to the report of the Delhi State Minority Commission nearly 2000 people associated with right wing communal organizations were brought in from the states adjacent to Delhi to carry out violence. The targetted people were asked their names to identify their religion. They were shot, stabbed and burned alive. Their houses were looted and set on fire, properties destroyed, and places of worship vandalised. As of now 53 people were killed and many more inured. It is reported that 22 houses, 322 shops, 301 vehicles and 3 schools were destroyed. 16 Mosques were also vandalised. An open drain that runs across most of the affected area has been used by the perpetrators to dump the bodies and severed body parts. Many are still missing and people suspect that more people were killed.
The reports from the ground also point out that, amidst official apathy and indifference, the casualties were controlled in many localities because people there came forward to defend themselves against the attacking mob. The police facilitated the violence by the omission of their duties, by colluding with Hindutva right wing mob, and sometimes, even by their active participation in assaults, murder, arson and destruction. The cries of the victims for help were ignored by them. Their Families are still reluctant to approach the police due to their hostile and discriminatory treatment. The police are threatening them while shielding the actual perpetrators. For days police barred media persons and independent agencies from entering some of the worst affected areas. Now people are complaining of arbitrary arrests of innocent Muslims while people who openly instigated the violence are left untouched. Meanwhile the Delhi state government also showed criminal apathy towards the victims. Even though the AAP government has announced some relief measures, they played no role in emergency rescue and relief activities and providing medical treatment to the injured.
The displaced people are left at the mercy of various community organizations and local groups. It is shocking that the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the State Chief Minister were too busy in their other priorities during and immediately after the days of violence to the extent of even not uttering few words of consolation, confidence and support to the victims.
The NEC of Popular Front demanded:
1. That the Delhi Police immediate start the much delayed arrests of the Sangh Parivar leaders who fanned the flames of violence.
2. That the Delhi State Government to ensure the medical treatment of the injured and relief and rehabilitation of the displaced.
3. That the Delhi State Government to give Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of those who were killed as they have done in the case of the killed police constable.
4. That the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to institute an inquiry commission headed by sitting High Court judge to investigate to bring the real culprits to justice.
5. That to publish immediately the full list of missing people and to take steps to find them out.
6. That to stop the witch-hunt of innocent Muslims and release them from jail after withdrawing the false cases on them.
Delink NPR exercise from forthcoming Census house listing process
In another resolution adopted by the NEC, the Popular Front of India urged the central and all state governments to delink NPR exercise from forthcoming Census house listing process. The meeting also called upon the people to boycott the forthcoming census house listing in states where it would be carried out by linking it with NPR.
The passage of The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by the Parliament of India in December 2019 gave BJP government the legal ground for denial of citizenship rights on the basis of religion. The CAA along with the move for the nationwide implementation of the National Register of Citizens and National Population Register threaten to render millions of poor Indian citizens stateless. This apprehension has taken millions of people across the country to streets protesting against CAA, NRC and NPR. The killings and destructions unleashed in the BJP rules states along with Hindutva forces have not yet been able to contain these agitations.
With escalating tensions across India, many state governments have spoken out against the controversial CAA-NRC-NPR move and many state assemblies passed resolutions. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Kerala, West Bengal Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telengana, Delhi, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are states which have taken open stand against the CAA. These have, undoubtedly, given much relief and hope to the people.
While the Centre is still adamant on their decision of going ahead with NPR linking it with Census 2021, the incoherence between the words and deeds of most state governments leave people confused. The Central Home Ministry has already revealed that the listing of houses along with linking of NPR data collection with Census will be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30. Yet, except for Kerala and West Bengal, none of the above states has yet issued official orders by removing data collection for NPR from Census house listing process.
Popular Front is of the view that the Census is necessary for making social and economic policies and for the exercise of government functioning, and it has been conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act since 1951. At the same time the organization would like to underline that NPR is nothing but the basic step towards implementing NRC and therefore to be boycotted by anyone opposing NRC. More than the number of questions included in the exercise, it is the follow up provision to verify and identify “doubtful” entries that make NPR linked Census as the base for NRC. Once NPR is completed, there is nothing that can prevent the nationwide implementation of NRC. Therefore all the states must make their stand clear to people on the scheduled NPR linked Census house listing phase. Till it is not made clear by the respective state government through orders/notifications the only option left before the people is to boycott the exercise.
It is a welcome step that Kerala and West Bengal states have made the distinction between the Census and NPR exercises and clarified that they would not include NPR related questions during the census data collection. However uncertainty and apprehensions still exists among people and enumerators about the real nature of the exercise. Hence the meeting called upon these governments to postpone the Census house listing exercise in all states including Kerala and West Bengal until the concerns of the citizens are satisfactorily addressed.
Mohammed Shakif was elected as the Secretary in charge of Media and Public Relations. The 3-day meeting was presided over by chairman O M A Salam. Vice Chairman E M Abdul Rahiman, General Secretary Anis Ahmed, Secretaries Afsar Pasha, Nasaruddin Elamaram and members Prof. P Koya, Adv. Mohammed Yusuf, A S Ismail, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Abdul Wahid Sait attended the meeting.