Delhi Police asks for video footage to identify rioters

SN Shrivastava

Delhi Police Commissioner designate SN Shrivastava today asked the public and the media to provide any video footage that can help identify the rioters, and promised that those who are identified as have participated in the riots will be brought before the law.

“It is our endeavor that anyone who is a culprit or has participated in these riots, we will punish him according to the law,” the newly appointed police chief said. “The legal process is on, and we’ll work towards this in coming days.

“We have made an appeal yesterday that any video footage, either through media channels or anywhere else, if you feel that those are important for the investigation of the cases and will provide valuable evidence, we’ve already given to the media the WhatsApp number and the person to whom this can be handed over,” he added.

Shrivastava’s comments come in the wake of widespread clashes, arson and rioting in North East Delhi this week, starting with an attempt by the followers of a political party to remove by force people who were sitting on the road in two localities in North East Delhi to protest against a recent change to India’s citizenship laws.

On Sunday morning, BJP leader Kapil Mishra was seen in a video giving an ultimatum to a Delhi Police officer that he and his followers will ‘hit the streets’ to clear out anti Citizenship Amendment Act protesters if Delhi Police fails to clear them out in three days.

“DCP sir is standing right here,” he said, addressing a crowd and pointing to a police officer standing next to him.

“I want to say to him on your behalf that we are leaving peacefully as Trump hasn’t left the city. Please clear up Jaffarabad and Chand Bagh by the time Trump leaves. After that, we won’t listen even to you.. we will have to come onto the streets,” he said in the video that was widely circulated among party cadres.

Later in the day, he invited supporters to come to Maujpur chowk opposite Jaffarabad protest site on 3 pm on Sunday. The clashes that started between those who assembled to support CAA and those who were already at the spot to oppose the law soon spread to multiple locations.

So far, around 42 people have been officially confirmed dead, and hundreds have been injured. Many shops and houses have been burned down and public property worth crores have been destroyed in two days of clashes between those who support CAA and those who oppose it.

Many videos have been circulating on social media, showing angry mobs throwing stones at each other.

Videos also show gangs of armed youth, and even women, roaming the streets.

It is believed that Delhi Police will examine these videos and try to arrest the people who can be identified in them.

In a similar incident, Kerala Police made use of video footage to identify hundreds of rioters in the wake of a Supreme Court judgment on Sabarimala temple in 2018.

Shrivastava also said over a 100 cases have been filed, based on specific and local incidents of violence over the last three days.

Two special investigation teams under Delhi Police Crime Branch have also been formed, he added.

He said no ‘unpleasant incident’ has been reported in the last 60 hours.

Shrivastava, who is special police commissioner, will take charge as Delhi Police Commissioner on Saturday when Amulya Pattnaik’s term comes to an end.