* Many shops set on fire; only four policemen present
* 150 people are injured; need police
* There is firing; police is trying to save itself and escape
* I fear my family will be killed by the rioters; need police help
These are some of the frantic calls for help received in the Delhi Police Control room on February 24, 2020, the first day of the riots. Made by residents of North-East Delhi — from both communities — these calls are part of the technical evidence in the chargesheet related to the murder of 20-year-old waiter Dilbar Negi whose body was found mutilated and charred in Shiv Vihar.
An analysis of the call records, collated as “Emergency Response Support Data” in the police chargesheet, reveals three patterns: first, calls were made by members of both communities seeking police help; second, calls were made as early as 3.40 pm – and many residents had to make multiple calls, in some cases over six hours, one caller made as many as seven calls; third, the calls highlight glaring gaps in the police response.
These assume significance given that this data, as the chargesheet itself points out, is certified under Section 65B of the Evidence Act and is admissible as evidence during trial. And the police have annexed calls from the worst-hit areas: Shiv Vihar Puliya and Shiv Vihar Tiraha; two schools DRP and Rajdhani; Hanuman mandir area; and the Jama Masjid and Noor Masjid area in Old Mustafabad.
The Indian Express contacted the Delhi Police spokesperson with queries on these calls and the response. The spokesperson declined to comment.
Some illustrative calls mentioned in the records:
Shiv Vihar Puliya:
At 3.44 pm, a resident makes his first call about “1000” people gathering at the spot, and “both sides” fighting each other; two minutes later, he calls to inform that “firing” has begun, involving “50 persons”; the caller, 15 minutes later, makes two consecutive calls asking for “police help”; at 4.23 pm, he makes a sixth call saying “need help; 20 shops have been set on fire”; and at 5.24 pm, he again calls, to inform the police that “150 people are injured; need police”.
A second caller, at 5.51 pm and 6.14 pm, makes two calls: “Many shops have been set of fire; only four policemen are present”; at 6.33 pm, he makes a third call: “There are arson and firing; need police”.
Shiv Vihar Tiraha:
At 6.29 pm and 6.31 pm, two callers inform the police their “shop has been set on fire”; at 7.15 pm, another caller, says, his shop has been set on fire; at 9.31 pm, a third call states: “there are riots; need police”; almost two hours later, at 11.02 pm, a caller seeks help: “need police ; the rioters have set the shops on fire”.
PB Mehta writes: Delhi riots chargesheet invents conspiracy and enemy, as per script
At 3.40 pm, a caller informs police “there is a fight between Hindus and Muslim”; seven hours later, he continues to call for help: “There is stone-pelting and arson; I have called many times”. Another caller, at 4 pm, says: “I have been trapped inside my shop; my bike is being set on fire; need police help”. At 5 pm, callers, from both communities, inform police about rioters “entering,” and “setting the school on fire”.
A caller from a “news channel” near the school informs police at 8.21 pm, that “four ladies are trapped inside a house; the mob is setting the house on fire”. At 12.01 am (February 25), another caller says rioters “have climbed on school and are pelting stones”. Thirty minutes later, the owner of the school informs the police: “They have entered the school and set it on fire”.
Shiv Vihar, Hanuman Mandir:
At 3.19 pm, the first caller informs the police that “some people (are) pelting stones”; at 4.10 pm, he calls again to say “there are riots between two communities” and that “one community is climbing on the houses and is firing”; at 5.41 pm, the same caller informs the police that the “rioters are attempting to enter the house through the terrace; the women are crying”; at 7.01 pm, he calls a fourth time and says the “house has been set on fire due to which the family is trapped inside”.
Another caller from the area makes a call at 8.03 pm: “Around 150 people are indulging in rioting and arson; need police”; 30 minutes later, he makes another call: “There is firing; police is trying to save itself and escape”
Jama Masjid and Noor Masjid:
At 3.53 pm, a call alerts police that “riots have started” near Jama Masjid in Old Mustafabad. Six hours later, at 9.55 pm, the same caller dials the police to say riots are still on and that he has called “four times” and “there is no response”. From nearby Noor Masjid, a resident calls for help at 6.04 pm: “I fear my family will be killed by the rioters; need police help”.
A resident from Chaman Park, makes two calls, at 4.19 pm and 5.12 pm, that “rioting has intensified”. Another caller, at 6.02 pm, informs the police: “I’m at work, my family has called and told me that there are riots in the area.” A third caller, from MCD Primary School, in the area, at 6:33 pm informs: “We need police; there are firing and arson here.”
In the chargesheet, the police have filed a summary box related to the PCR calls. The box has seven columns: the third column mentions the PCR call recorded in the computer and information being transferred to an Assistant Sub Inspector Rank officer. The columns related to “action taken brief” and “status” are empty.
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