Delhi Riots Probe: What Kapil Mishra Told Police About Feb 23 Video
On the 41-second clip that allegedly triggered the #DelhiRiots, Mishra said he was only requesting the police to clear roads
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police on September 16, filed its chargesheet in the case pertaining to the communal violence that rocked North East Delhi earlier this year in February. The 17,500-page chargesheet outlines the alleged conspiracy that led to the riots. The violence from February 23 to February 26 left 53 dead and hundreds injured.
During the course of its investigation lasting almost six months, the Special Cell on July 28 had called Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra to question him about his February 23 speech that is alleged to have triggered the violence.
According to the responses recorded in the chargesheet, the former MLA who represented Karawal Nagar—one of the riot-torn areas—said he did not give any speeches. Mishra claimed he was moved by the plight of the locals who were suffering because of the blockade and hence had gone there to resolve the situation.
In a video that was widely viewed on social media, Mishra was heard giving what could be construed as an ultimatum to the police to clear the road that was allegedly blocked by anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protestors. The speech was delivered in the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ved Prakash Surya on the eve of United States of America (USA) President Donald Trump's visit to the national capital.
Mishra's response as noted by the police is at odds with reports of police officials burying complaints against him for allegedly inciting the communal violence. The police in a July 13 reply before the Delhi High Court had also submitted "no actionable evidence has surfaced yet indicating any role being played by" any political figure in the February riots.
Did not give speech, requested police to clear road blockade
Mishra was summoned by police officials for questioning five months after several pleas in the courts sought the registration of an FIR (First Information Report) against him for allegedly inciting communal violence.
In response to one of the queries posed before him - Did you deliver any speech in North East on 23/02? If yes, then content of the speech - Mishra replied in the negative and said that he simply requested ("vinti") the police to clear the road in three days or else, he along with his supporters would also be compelled to sit on a dharna.
When asked why he was in the locality, Mishra said he was a local and was moved by the plight of the people living in the area. "I saw that some people had posted on Facebook about the difficulties they were facing because of the blockade (resulting from the anti-CAA protest going on at the time).
"People couldn't go to offices, kids couldn't go to school. Essential services were not reaching the people. That's why, I had gone to the spot to pass on their grievances to the police and to request the police to clear the blockade, before that I had spoken to DCP Surya on the phone," his response in the chargesheet says.
We will not even listen to you, Mishra to Police in video
"On Youtube, there is a video in which you are heard saying that trump ke jaane ke baad….? What do you mean by that?," the police asked Mishra during questioning. "This means that I had told DCP Surya that if the roads were not clear then we would also sit on dharna…On this only, I told DCP Surya who was present there, that after Trump leaves please clear the blockade we are requesting you (aise aapse vinti kar rahe hai). Uske baad hame road par aana padega. I said this, you can check it on YouTube", Mishra said.
However, the video does not end there. In the 41-second clip, Mishra adds that they will maintain peace till such time Trump is in the capital, after that, if the roads are not clear, they will not even listen to the police. "Hum aapki bhi nahi sunenge agar raaste khaali nahi hue toh," Mishra further says in the video, "Trump ke jaane tak aap Jaafrabad aur Chandbagh khaali karwa lijiye, aise aapse vinti kar rahe hai. Uske baad hamein road pe aana padega," followed by chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'.
Mishra had also tweeted the 41-second video of his speech with a tweet. The tweet that tagged Delhi Police Twitter handle has been deleted. The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.
The police and Mishra both are silent on this part of his statement.
Calls for Mishra's arrest
In the aftermath of the violence, several petitions were filed in the city and the high court seeking Mishra's arrest for his provocative speech. The clip was also one of the four videos the high court on Februrary 26 played for the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta and other senior police officials who claimed they had not seen Mishra speak.
During the hearing at the time, the high court had expressed its "constitutional anguish" and pulled up the police for it's inaction.
"On that very day, actually, some group of protestors forcefully occupied space under Jaffarabad metro station. In response to this, the main link road got blocked. There was some resentment among locals. [Kapil] Mishra came on sudden notice on Sunday. The DCP tried convincing him not to come, but Mishra still made the speech. The DCP then managed to get him out but the group supporting Mishra sat. This created a new situation. Then the police tried to get the groups to leave, leading to the situation now," Special Commissioner of Police Parvesh Ranjan had said in defence.
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