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Would have arrested BJP leaders if I was in charge, says ex-police chief

Ajay Raj Sharma said that the first mistake police made was “allowing Shaheen Bagh to take place... If Shaheen Bagh had not taken place, this riot would not have taken place. Shaheen Bagh was leading to communal tension because of the slogans being raised there.”

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 1, 2020 10:33:38 am
kapil mishra hate speech, anurag thakur hate speech, delhi riots, delhi communal violence, delhi caa protests, delhi police, delhi city news Former Commissioner of Police in Delhi and former Director-General of the Border Security Force Ajay Raj Sharma has slammed the Delhi Police for their role in the violence that rocked Northeast Delhi last week. (Express Archive)

Former Commissioner of Police in Delhi and former Director-General of the Border Security Force Ajay Raj Sharma has slammed the Delhi Police for their role in the violence that rocked Northeast Delhi last week.

In an interview to journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire, Sharma, who served as the Delhi CP from 1999-2002, said that “he would have arrested BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra” for the inflammatory speeches they made.

Sharma said, “I would have arrested Thakur after informing the Home Ministry… For Mishra (who is not an MLA), there was no obstruction in arresting him.”

Read | Goli maaro slogan is back as Kapil Mishra leads ‘peace’ march

When Thapar asked him about Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya standing next to Mishra as he gave an “ultimatum to police” at a rally in Northeast Delhi, Sharma said, “I would have called for his explanation immediately… Why did he not take action or tell him to stop… If the explanation wasn’t satisfactory, he would have been removed from his post.”

Sharma said that the first mistake police made was “allowing Shaheen Bagh to take place… If Shaheen Bagh had not taken place, this riot would not have taken place. Shaheen Bagh was leading to communal tension because of the slogans being raised there.”

Also Read | At Shaheen Bagh, barricades on alternate routes add to congestion

He said anything that obstructs traffic on the roads is a cognizable crime and “when a cognizable crime takes place, you have to act as a policeman”.

The Indian Express spoke to a former CP about the current law and order situation in the city and the role of police.

T R Kakkar, who served as Commissioner of Police, Delhi, from 1997-98, said, “For reasons best known to the government, and the Home Minister, a lot of restraint has been exercised by police. The perpetrators feel emboldened.”

Kakkar said Section 144 should have been imposed sooner, preventive arrests should have been made, and borders immediately sealed or at least police presence should have been increased.

“Even when Section 144 was imposed, people didn’t care… They were already emboldened,” he said.

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