Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story
The book ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ is published from ground research material on the Delhi Riots that occurred in February 2020. This material was collected by the authors and their team during their many visits to the riot-affected areas of North East Delhi. The research team met both Hindu and Muslim victims of the violence and religious leaders of both communities who attempted to de- escalate the situation. The book contains eight chapters which narrate the fact and evidence-based story of the dharna-to-danga model, planned and executed by Urban Naxal and Jihadi elements in Delhi. The book features narratives from Hindu and Muslim victims, stories of the Dalits who were brutalized in unimaginable ways, maps showing the insidious Urban-Naxal-Jihadi model of rioting, FIRs of properties that were burnt and wrecked, and the postmortem reports of Ankit Sharma and Ratan Lal, which portray their brutal killings.
Truth, A new Chapter
One of the main themes of the book is the destruction of inter-community relations in North East Delhi in the garb of Anti-CAA protests. The book shows us that hatred and violence was ignited between two communities which had been peacefully coexisting for decades, by people with ideologically vested interests. It exposes the plot behind the violence, how it was planned and how the events unfolded. The book contains details on the events of 23rd February 2020 in Jaffrabad which laid the ground for full-fledged communal riots in the area on the next day. It shows how a Genocide was committed in North East Delhi under the cover of women's empowerment. The book uncovers the Urban-Naxal-Jihadi theories as contained in their own documents and literature. The book must be read because it shows the citizens of this country the ways in which their internal security is being compromised by fanatic ideologies.
INTRODUCTIONDelhi, the city of kings and emperors, is an intrigue, a mystery, a grand story of continuous inhabitation since prehistoric times. The city has been built many times over. The ruins of at least eight capitals have been discovered in Delhi. Indraprastha1, the city of the Pandavas mentioned in the Mahabharata, is said to have been situated in Delhi around 3500 BC. Anecdotal evidence points to the Purana Qila built on the site of Indraprastha. Some archaeological evidence (the presence of ancient Indian pottery such as Northern Black Polished Ware and Painted Grey Ware also points to the area being inhabited as early as 1000 BCE. Further, according to some sources, the city of Delhi was founded by one Raja Dhilu around 800 BCE.1
Though there is limited historical evidence about the natives of Delhi, it is widely believed that the Tomars were settled along the Yamuna river basin and their founder, Anangapala, established Delhi in 736 AD. The Tomar clan lived and intermixed with Rajputs, Gurjars and Jats.
In the 12th century, the Chauhans (the Rajput dynasty to which the legendary Prithviraj Chauhan belonged) took over from the Tomars. Then came the Muslims from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran who built Siri, Tughlaqabad, Firozabad, Shahjahanabad, which are all encompassed in Delhi. This period saw many dynasties and sultanates from 1206 to 1526 AD, Delhi was ruled successively by the Slave Dynasty (1206- 1290); the Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320); the Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1413); the Sayyid Dynasty (1414-1451); the Lodi Dynasty (1451-1526) and the Mughals (1526-1761).
Though technically, the Mughal rulers continued to exist right up to 1857, the Mughal rule, however, was significantly weakened after 1757, when the Marathas captured Delhi and enforced their writ on the Mughal emperor, Alamgir II. The Marathas, however, lost this control to East India Company in 1803. Undoubtedly, this grand political history was supported by the simple, warm and welcoming population of the Yamuna basin. Many people from the Kayastha community from Uttar Pradesh (UP) moved to Delhi during the Mughal reign to work as administrators in their courts.
The Civil Lines area in Delhi was settled by British residents from the 19th century right up to the time when they built New Delhi (1911-1931). This is evident in the architecture that can be seen in Civil Lines, which reflects the colonial styles that were popular at the time. Many Bengalis, mostly officers in the administration made a move to Delhi in 1911 as the capital of the British Empire in India was shifted from Calcutta. They took up residence around the Gole Market area. (In 1971, many moved to Chittaranjan Park, where the East Pakistan Displaced Persons Colony were established after the second war with Pakistan) The 1947 Partition witnessed a flood of Punjabi and some Sindhi refugees into Delhi, which earned it the tag of 'Punjabi City'. Many areas of Delhi like Patel Nagar still carry the stamp of this exodus.
In 1990, the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from what is now the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir saw them moving to areas like Vasant Kunj. Delhi welcomed Tibetan refugees as they fled from Chinese occupation. The Tibetan refugees made a life in the city, settling in North Delhi in the Majnu Ka Tilla neighbourhood. A walk through these lanes
will transport one to Lhasa. The last 20 years have seen a huge influx of people from Bihar and UP, and people from northern hill states living in East Delhi. Then there are labourers from Rajasthan and Odisha who are spread all over.
People from the Northeast have also moved to Delhi in large numbers in the last two decades.2 People from Kerala and Tamil Nadu also form significant communities. A large population of Sri Lankan Tamils have made their homes in narrow lanes of Janakpuri. Delhi also continues to be an important centre for students all over the country.
Further, being the seat of the central government, as well as having seen the emergence of large corporate hubs in Delhi itself along with neighbouring Gurugram and Naida, Delhi and its contiguous urban setting is home to not only people from all over India but also a large number of expatriates from all over the world.
This melting pot of people has seen a huge churning in its way of being, thoughts, cuisine, culture and attitudes. It will be fair to say that today's Delhi is the result of all this churn and while particular influences can be seen in different parts of the city, on the whole, Delhi can be seen as a teeming metropolis of mixed influences. The city is also a rapidly growing metropolitan area. According to details from the 2011 census, Delhi has a population of 1.68 crore, an increase from the 2001 census figure of 1.39 crore. The population of Delhi continues to rise rapidly and it is quite likely that the 2021 census, the population will have crossed two crore. If the contiguous metropolitan areas in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were to be included, it will be much larger.
Delhi has seen communal violence in the past, some of the worst incidents in 1947. In 1984, Delhi saw the Sikh riots, which were 'retributory' political violence by the ruling party against a minority community in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The latest in the series are the violent communal clashes that occurred in North East Delhi, from 23 to 25 February 2020. Predictably, the national and international media also erupted in a frenzy of reporting and documentation of the riots. In today's social-media-controlled context of the rapid spread of news, horrific images of the violence were being broadcast. Video feeds of people fleeing burning public installations went viral, leading to a rapidly escalating communal situation. The situation prompted GIA to make a ground assessment of the situation. This book is based on that ground report of this riot.
Delhi Riots 2020: Not Riots But a First-of-Its-Kind Urban Warfare in India
Like any other country in the world, India has had a long history of intermittent sectarian riots in pre- and post-independent periods, wherein one section/group of society used violence against the other with whatever weapon was at hand-bricks, stones, rods, sticks, swords, etc. However, the violence which has happened in North East Delhi on 23-25 February 2020 is unprecedented in the rioting history of this country and cannot be just classified as a riot. It is a pre-planned systematic conspiracy, complete urban warfare, the first episode of its kind in India, engineered by radical Muslims and Urban Maoists in tandem.
There is a lot of evidence to prove that the Shaheen Bagh protest and rioting model was not spontaneous, triggered by some instigation as it happens in most cases of rioting. It was pre-planned warfare m which the militant Islamic organization Popular Front of India (PFI) played a pivotal role, with support of left-wing extremist (LWE) organizations. Islamic radicals have been at the forefront in protests and rioting whereas the Leftist role has been subtle and tactical. Select academics and media persons have not only been providing a shield to the violence but supporting it even by creating a wider narrative in their favour through their established presence in the national and international media. This technique of the Left to use Muslims as their striking arm is not new though and is something they have been doing since the 1940s.3
The Background to the Protests and Rioting: The Old Fault Line of Indian Society Exploited
Insecurities of the Muslims were exploited in the Shaheen Bagh protest and rioting model. Some of the developments at the level of the executive and the judiciary in the past few months had caused uneasiness in the Muslim community. A strong decision was taken by the Modi government to resolve long pending issues of the Jammu and Kashmir region by setting aside Article 370 and bringing the area at par with other regions of the country. Then, the government at the Centre took yet another decision of doing away with instant triple talaq. The Supreme Court of India too resolved the decades long cases related to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue and the verdict came in favour of considering the plot of land under dispute as the birthplace of Lord Ram. Then, on 11 December 2019, the government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), to fast-track some time-bound cases of citizenship of six minority communities from three neighbouring countries.
The CAA had nothing to do with the Muslims of India. However, the Left grabbed this opportunity to exploit the fear of some Muslims. It misused the uneasiness brewing in the Muslim community for some months, ever since the BJP came to power again with a bigger mandate after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This, it did with some tacit support of a few political parties with vested interests.
A completely fake narrative was created by the Left in the national and international media and Indian universities regarding the CAA. Muslims were radicalised over more than two months at these anti-CAA protest sites. Details of this systematic, engineered radicalisation and outright confrontationist identity politics are given the subsequent chapters of this book. Women and children were used to feed venom against Hindus, the government, the security forces and the country at large. The Shaheen Bagh protest and violence model was devised, which innocently got support from some neutral apolitical citizens of Delhi too. Meanwhile, the funding links between the protests and the riots have been established to the PFI. The increasing influence of the PFI in some areas has already been pointed out and is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and covered by the media. PFI is allegedly working as a recruitment and training front for the global terrorist group, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, better known as ISIS. The Left and PFI have also been working closely in Kerala for the past several years, with both organisations having built and strengthened their presence in the southern state.
First-of-Its-Kind Strategy Adopted in Anti-CAA Protests and Rioting
The strategy and tactics followed in the Delhi protests and riots are the first of its kind in India, whereas they have frequently been used in Syria and other troubled areas of Middle East specifically in Iraq on American forces.
The Shaheen Bagh Model, from protest to rioting, is a complete experiment. Incidents that took place from 15 December 2019 to 25 February 2020 are strategic phases of one plan.
The protest at Shaheen Bagh was used as a diversionary technique. While the media and police focused on the street protests, rioting structures were being identified and created in high-rise buildings in the other part of Delhi. This is a typical tactic applied in Maoist-infested forest areas of central India. 'Shout in the East and Strike in the West' has been the Maoist strategy wherein they create some movement at one place and strike at some other place. It is a part of the Guerrilla warfare tactics.
With such elaborate preparations, high-rises were used by snipers in North East Delhi during riots. North East Delhi's Rajdhani Public School in Shiv Vihar, Khajuri Khas was used by Muslim rioters as a base for storing weaponry and launching petrol and acid bombs, and bricks and stones through catapults. Similarly, the house of Tahir Hussain, an Aam Admi Party (AAP) councillor which is a huge building was used as a bunker and launch pad. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer, Ankit Sharma was allegedly stabbed to death and tortured for hours in the same building.
Hate speeches and sustained political mobilisation around CAA in the anti-CAA dharna sites had already created a situation of public violence on the streets since December 2019. The blocking of Road Number 66 in Jaffrabad on the night of 22 February 2020 provided the immediate cause of riots which began by the afternoon of 23 February 2020. The fact is that tons of acid pouches, a large quantity of stones and bricks and petrol were present in the areas which were accumulated over some weeks at least. Moreover, permanent slingshots and catapults were created through welding to target identified persons and locations. That is proof in itself that the targets were already set as the catapults' angles and directions were fixed. There are possibilities that PFI or ISi might have provided the lists of targeted individuals as most of the targets of Islamic snipers were individuals who either belonged to security forces-police, intelligence agencies or persons belonging to Hindu organisations.
Trained professional shooters were present in these buildings demarcated as bases to launch attacks. They could accurately shoot from a distance of around 300 metres, killing targets by aiming for the head or neck. Intelligence agencies need to investigate who provided such trained sharpshooters. Based on some of the bullets that were recovered by the investigating team, the use of sniper rifles was evident.
A supply chain through strong iron chains was created for rioters at the Rajdhani School building. The use of such tactics is not possible without combat training. Owned by a prominent Muslim local, Faisal Farroque, the wall of the Rajdhani Public School overlooks the D.R.P. Convent Public School in Shiv Vihar. While the latter was a single storey building, the former is a high-rise. Iron chains were suspended from the roof of the Rajdhani school and rioters rappelled their way into D.R.P., which was razed to the ground and burnt.
The use of women as shields is a typical Communist technique adopted over the years in the Left-dominated universities and at most of the protests. In all other previous protests and riots involving the Muslim community, women were sent to safer places while the men were part of the action. However, at Shaheen Bagh, women and children came on the forefront while the men made all the background preparations for rioting.
The fact that different types of weapons were gathered, from stones, bricks, sticks and rods to pistols and rifles, speaks about the systematic use of diverse weapons.
The brutal killing of Ankit Sharma with more than 51 wounds on his body is indicative of ISIS type of killings.
The police force has been a target of such forces on previous occasions, but targeting an intelligence officer is a big message which was communicated to create fear.
Finally, the timing of the riots was crucial as well, with the president of the United States, Donald Trump on a visit to India at the time. The likely motive was to internationalise the issue of Muslim unrest when the international media was all around and build a fake narrative against the current Indian government.
The Shaheen Bagh Protest and Rioting Model Is Just a Prelude
The Delhi protest and violence model is a kind of trailer of an unprecedented experiment in Delhi, the headquarters of the IB. It will be analysed not only by intelligence and law enforcement agencies but by the planners and executors of this model too. Never in the history of India have riots been planned and executed in such a systematic way. There is a pre planned structure to this experiment which could further be applied to other Muslim-dominated areas of the country. This experiment could be a prelude to more such types of urban warfare in the future.
The responsibility of the central government is huge in the present circumstances, as the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies are under its direct control. Drastic steps need to be taken to strengthen intelligence as it is the first line of defence. Technology is important but there is no alternative to grass-root level human interaction. The NIA has the mandate to look into such systematic terror activities. Therefore, the investigation of the Delhi riots should be handed over to NIA for a fair probe. Moreover, the government cannot afford to neglect Delhi bureaucratically, politically and strategically and not strengthen itself in institutions of significance.
The deadly concoction of Jihadi elements and Urban Naxals is horrible and poisonous for the country. Both have inherited a long history of violence. Both have helped each other in the past but now both of them have started inheriting each other's strengths in terms of capability to launch violence and unrest. The numbers of the radicalised militant Muslims with logistical and tactical support of Left can prove dangerous in the times to come. This joint venture of radical Islam and the Left will destroy the country if it is not contained now. The tremendous social polarisation happening at their combined behest needs to be stopped to save the country from big losses of lives and property, in addition to other long-term soc10- political, economic and psychological impacts.
So that We Never See This Again: Insights and Way Forward
The Delhi riots, which lasted for two-and-a-half days, roughly from 23 February 2020 afternoon to the night of 25 February 2020, have scarred the consciousness of the city. Now is the time for all of us to take stock and pledge that this sort of barbarous brutality never occurs again. To do that, we have to go into the reasons for this outbreak. The reasons enumerated in the following chapters are the ones we gathered from ground zero.