Thirty years after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a news portal, in a sting operation, has claimed the government of the day failed to stop the riots and senior Delhi Police officers, fearing the government, did not take action, allowing the mayhem to continue for three days.
The investigation by Cobrapost — Chapter 84 — claims it has confessions of Delhi Police officers, who purportedly admitted their failure as a force to take action against the culprits.
The news portal recorded the conversations of five Station House Officers (SHOs) of Delhi Police, now retired, who were then in-charge of sensitive localities that witnessed the maximum causalities. The news portal also claimed the then Delhi Police commissioner “conveniently parried all questions”, while another IPS officer and then additional commissioner of police straightaway rejected the idea that they had any first-hand knowledge of the riots.
However, the SHOs, in their purported conversations with the news portal — which they claimed were also recorded by the various commissions to probe the killings — admitted that their demand to provide additional forces to contain the law and order situation were not met.
The news portal, in its press statement, claimed that the “confessions” of these officers revealed that while warnings about the simmering communal sentiments against Sikhs went unheard by senior officers. Only two per cent of the messages of news of arson and rioting, bombarding the police control room, were recorded.
They also claimed police logbooks were changed to eliminate evidence of inaction on the part of senior officers, while some officers did not act for fear of being transferred.
According to the claims made by Cobrapost, some police officers dumped bodies of victims elsewhere to minimise riot-related crime and messages were broadcast directing police to not take action against rioters. “The government of the day did not allow the police to act while creating an impression that the police were not performing their duty,” the news portal alleged in its statement.
Cobrapost editor Aniruddha Bahal, who in the past has mostly conducted sting operations on BJP, said, “The idea behind carrying out this operation was to get a snapshot of the 1984 traumatic event, which followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. So, we decided to go and hear from the policemen under whose watch the incidents of rioting, arson and murder happened.”
The news portal, in its sting operation, said most of the police officers admitted to their failure as a force — some of them confessed that the police brass colluded with the government of the day “to teach Sikhs a lesson”.
It further claimed police did not allow the victims of rioting to lodge FIRs or when they filed FIRs, they clubbed many cases of murder and arson that took in disparate places in one FIR.
“Senior police officers did not allow their subordinates to open fire on rioters while even the fire brigade refused to move to areas where cases of arson had been reported by police,” Bahal alleged.
At least three officers interviewed by Cobrapost were unanimous in condemning the role of the former CP in not providing leadership to the force and castigated the then police chief without mincing words.