Kusum Lata Mittal Report
C H A P T E R - 7
S O U T H D I S T R I C T
Sri Chander Prakash, Deputy Commissioner of Police
Shri Ajay Chadha, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police
7.1. South District consists mainly of posh and affluent colonies although there are few resettlement colonies in Delhi Cantt., Srinivaspuri, Mehraulli and Naraina located on the periphery of the border with Haryana.
7.2. Shri Chander Prakash was the Deputy Commissioner of Police of South District during the riots. He was assisted by Shri Ajay Chadha, Addl. Deputy Commissioner of Police and 4 Assistant Commissioners of Police each in charge of one Sub Division as follows:-
(I) SUB DIVISION DELHI CANTT.( Shri D.P. Verma, ACP)
PS Delhi Cantt. :SHO Rohtas Singh: 8.3.1983 To 7.11.1984
PS Naraina : SHO Vijay Sachdeva : 14.6.83 To 27.10.85
PS R.K.Puram : SHO Ramphal Singh : 8.10.83 To 6.11.84
PS Vasant Vihar : SHO Daryao Singh : 8.10.83 To 6.11.84
(ii) SUB DIVISION HAUZ KHAS – ( Shri Krishan Gopal, ACP)
PS Hauz Khas : SHO Shiv Dutt Sharma : 28.5.84 to 23.2.87
PS Mehraulli : SHO Jaipal Singh : 9.2.84 to 27.10.85
PS Vinay Nagar :SHO Harmeet Singh : 15.9.83 to 4.6.85
(iii) SUB DIVISION LAJPAT NAGAR – (‘Shri Avinash Chandra, ACP)
PS Lajpat Nagar: SHO Ombeer Singh: 29.10.82 to 27.10.85
PS Kalka Ji : SHO Bhupinder Kumar : 7.10.83 to 5.6.85
PS Badarpur : SHO Sukhbir Singh : 20.3.84 to 26.10.85
(IV) SUB DIVISION DEFENCE COLONY – ( Shri K.B. Kumar, ACP)
PS Defence Colony : SHO Ram Chander : 20.3.84 to 3.12.85
PS Lodhi Colony : SHO Sita Ram : 16.4.82 to 6.11.84
PS Hazrat Nizamuddin : SHO Ramphal : 13.4.83 to 9.1.86
7.3. During the November, 1984 ,riots there was wide-spread violence in South District right from the afternoon of 31st October, 1984 and practically all the Police Stations were seriously affected. Trouble continued up tothe4th of November, 1984 even though this was the first District to get outside force as well as contingents of the Army as soon as army was called in one the 1st of November, 1984. Unfortunately, the records reveal that there was a total break-down of law and order in this District which is one of the largest Districts in Delhi having 14 Police Stations.
7.4. It is a sad commentary on the functioning of the Police in this District that although trouble had started in the afternoon of 31st October, 1984 in and around the All India Medical Institute, a graphic description of which has been given by Shri Jagjit Singh (2314), a labour leader , belong to the Congress (I) and Shri Kuldip Singh (2312), precautionary measures do not seem to have been taken by the police. One would normally have expected that when incidents of violence had started in this District, the police in all the Police Stations would have been alerted and necessary precautionary measures initiated. Instead of this, we find total passivity on the part of the police. This is clear from the large number of affidavits filed in the Misra Commission by responsible persons, social reformers and public-spirited people who were not directly affected by the riots. While some of these independent witnesses were residents of South Delhi, others came from other parts of the city and have given their independent opinion. It would be worthwhile mentioning some of these to show the general attitude of the police.
7.5. Dr. Sushila Nayar, a former Union Health Minister, sent a letter dated 6.11.84 to Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, the then Union Home Minister, regarding the police inaction and the general unhelpful attitude of the Police. An extract from her letter is quoted below :-
“ I write this to you with a heavy heart. My cousin brother Shri D.P. Nayyar, , who retired as Education Adviser in the Planning Commission some time ago lives in Sarvodaya Enclave, C-145. He has a Sikh neighbour. A mob came to set fire to the Sardar’s house on November 1, Shri Dev Prakash’s son telephoned to the police. The police asked ’whose house is burning ? Is it Sikh’s or Hindu’s? He replied ‘It is a Sikh’s house’ ‘let is burn’. Was the reply. This poison in the police is dangerous for our Country.”
Dr. Nayar goes on to describe some more incidents at NOIDA in her letter. This letter was passed on by the Home Ministry vide d.o. letter no. 14036/219/84-UT(P) dated 20.11.87, from Director (Delhi), Ministry of Home Affairs to Shri S.S.Jog , the then Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
7.6. Some other independent deponents also described the attitude of the police who asked them why they were worried and ‘were they not Hindus? Prominent among these were : Shri Ashok Jaitly (2512) a Senior IAS Officer and Smt. Jaya Jaitly (2702), Miss Poonam Mutteraja(2510), Shri Dinesh Mohan (2712), Shri Ravi Chopra (2771), Shri Smitu Kothari (2268), Shri V.Khosla (2589), and Shri Amit Bararia (2738). Many of the deponents stated that the mobs who were indulging in looting and arson were ‘happy’ , in a’ festive mood’ and ‘jubilant’. Smt. Jaya Srivastava (2705), Mr. George Mathews(2642); Shri Smitu Kothari(2268); Shri Asim Srivastava (2676) to name a few. Many deponents also indicated complete indifference and passivity on the part of the police, viz., Shri Madhu Dandavate (2641), Shri Rajiv Lochan (2775), Smt. Lalita Ramdas (2693 & 2647), Shri Joseph maliakan (2699), Mrs. Gouri Choudhary (2511) etc. Sri Amit Bararia (2738) actually saw the police shooting into the Sikh house. It is a pity that the police force which should be completely impartial and non-communal should have behaved in such a partisan manner and as Dr. Sushila Nayar has rightly stated, this poison in the police is dangerous for our country.”
7.7. The main responsibility for what happened in the South District falls on DCP (South). We find that his actions were not such as would inspire confidence or such as one would expect from an officer of his seniority and status. As a matter of fact, he went to the extent of ignoring his own superiors, even let off culprits who had been arrested by Additional C.P. Shri kaul as would be clear from the following:-
7.8. Shri Gautam Kaul, Additional Commissioner of Police, had stated that on 1st November, 1984 he received a message in the evening that villagers had organized themselves and were looting and burning bungalows in New Friends Colony . He rushed there and met DCP(South) who was moving with about 2 sections strength in a pick up. They all entered New Friends Colony and on being informed that the looters were in a particular house near the house of Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora, he along with some men entered the house but found nobody on the ground floor. On reaching the first floor he found a man hiding in the cup-board in the bath room. He pulled him out and gave him a beating. As he shrieked several villagers who were hiding under beds, in almirah and under blankets suddenly exposed themselves in panic. Eight looters were thus caught with their pockets full of money, Liquor bottles and other looted property. All these looters were arrested. From another bungalow in a similar manner six persons indulging in looting were arrested. According to Additional C.P., in a two-hour operation they arrested nearly 40 persons, all looters. He goes on to say that he told DCP(South) that he should dispatch the arrested persons to the police station while they surveyed the entire area. He then organized the local residents into a ‘self-defense group’ while the police was ordered to patrol the area at regular intervals. He then goes on to describe how a bus-load of arrested persons were brought from other Police Stations and locked up in P.S. Defence Colony a. They included some persons who attacked passengers in the train at Palam and others detained in the Tughlakabad Railway Yard by the Railway Police. He gave specific instructions to DCP (South) that since arrests had been made and incidents reported from all over South District, instructions may be issued to register as many cases per incident as possible and special investigating teams be created in the Police Stations for the registration of FIRs and their subsequent investigation.
7.9. It is surprising that these instructions were not complied with by the DCP(South) and the police records again do not even show these arrests made by the Additional Commissioner of Police himself. Apparently, the persons arrested in the presence of Shri Kaul, Additional C.P. were all let off by DCP (South) once his back was turned. If this is the manner in which the DCP (South) was functioning, nothing much could be expected from his subordinates. This would be the reason why indifference, passivity and at times actual police connivance was evident in the incidents of rioting, killing and arson in all the Police Stations in South District.
7.10. There were more than 540 deaths in this District. The bulk of them were in the jurisdiction of Police Station Delhi Cantt. The next worst affected , as far as deaths are concerned, was PS Srinivaspuri. Arson and looting on an unprecedented scale and some deaths continued unabated in the remaining police Stations. When we examine the records, we find that hardly any concrete action was taken by the police in this District ,especially in the first three days of the riots. Hardly any preventive arrests were made during the entire period of the riots. Besides, in spite of arson, loot and killings, arrests in registered cases were nominal. Except for Nizamuddin and Kalka Ji, no tear-gas shells were used to disperse mobs which were roaming around unchecked and no one from the mob seems to have been hurt/killed in police action. The general impression that one gets from the statements of the deponents, both independent and those affected, is that the DCP and his senior officers just did not care and were permitting the crowds to continue their nefarious activities unchecked, if not actually siding with them.
7.11. The wireless log books of the senior officers of South District have not been properly maintained, some have been tampered with and some were not made available to the Committee by the office of the Commissioner of police, Delhi in spite of repeated requests:
i. (a) The log book of DCP (South) has evidently been tampered with, and, pages have been actually torn out. There are no entries from 1st November, 1984 to 7th November, 1984 i.e. the entire period of the riots. The Head Constables who were functioning as Wireless Operators have, in written statements, pleaded ignorance about the tearing of the pages from the log book. Since the Wireless Operators would not have been the beneficiaries, it is doubtful whether they would have torn the relevant pages. The only beneficiary was the DCP (South) himself. He had pleaded ignorance about the killings especially in Delhi Cantt. Area and, therefore, the possibility of the DCP having tampered with the wireless log book can not be ruled out. As we will see subsequently, messages regarding the killing in Delhi Cantt. Are evident from the other police records, the log books of SHO and ACP Delhi Cantt. Obviously in a bid to remove this evidence the log book of DCP has been manipulated. A wireless log book is a very important and vital document in police functioning and by tearing on pages (pp numbered 192-195) a very serious offence has been committed.
ii. The log books of Shri K.B. Kumar, ACP and Shri Krishan Gopal, ACP Hauz Khas, have not been made available and it is, therefore, difficult to say anything about them.
iii. The log book of Shri Ajay Chadha, Addl. DCP (South) appears to have been re-written with some harmless entries as the log book contains entries from 0900 hrs on 31st October, 1984 to 18.25 on 1st November, 1984 only. Four pages before 31st are blank and all the pages after 1825 hrs on 1st November, 1984 are also blank. His log books for period before or after these dates have not been made available. From this it is presumed that either they were not maintained or there was something to hide in the original log book. If the statement of Shri Ramesh Singh Rana, SI of Sagarpur Division is accepted , Shri Chadha was in full connivance with the rioters and instigating them this could be one of the reasons that his complete log books have been made available. It might have revealed facts prejudicial to his interests.
iv. The log book of ACP Lajpat Nagar Shri Avinash Chander also seems to be manipulated as it does not contain many messages which had been sent to ACP Lajpat Nagar after 1010 hrs on 1.11.84 . Besides, when the events were happening in quick succession, we find no messages recorded in his log book between 1050 hrs to 1345 hrs and again from 1600 hrs to 1855 hrs on 2.11.84. The log book of the control room contains number of messages meant for ACP Lajpat Nagar but these are not reflected in his log book.
7.12. The movement chart of DCP (South) and action taken by him also does not tally with the records of the Police Station. For instance, the DCP has stated that on 1.11.84 at 11.00 hrs he fired to prevent clashes between two communities at Ashram Chowk. However, the police records do not show any firing at Ashram Chowk. Some firing was done by a constable at Shalimar Bridge which is not at Ashram Chowk but a different locality. The DCP also in his movement chart shows that at 1735 hrs on 1.11.84, he rounded up some miscreants in the area of New Friends Colony. However, scrutiny of records and DD entries show no preventive arrests in Srinivaspuri and the 18 persons arrested in connection with FIR No.369 appear to have been arrested subsequent to the period of riots. As has been indicated earlier, the arrests made by the Addl. Commissioner of Police also have not been reflected in the police records. So obviously they were let off scot free.
7.13. In the entire District, hardly any preventive arrests were made and in many of the Police Stations not a single arrest was made either in preventive cases or in the registered cases. Whether it is lathi charge or the use of tear-gas shells, very little seems to have been done as a result of which the crowds remained unchecked and carried on their nefarious activities unhindered. This confirms the observations of independent witnesses that the police was passive and indifferent and did not rise to the occasion even when approached by the deponents. Deponents like Shri Dinesh Mohan (2712), Shri Ravi Chopra(2771), Miss Poonam Muttereja (2510) and Shri Smitu Kothari (2268) among others clearly high-light the indifference of the police of South District not to mention Dr. Sushila Nayar, an extract of whose d.o. letter has been reproduced earlier in para 5. Some of the deponents like Shri Amit Bararia (2738), Shri V.Khosla(2589) and others indicate that the police was not only indifferent but actively sided with the miscreants.
7.14. South District was the first District to get outside force and also one of the first Districts where army came, to assist the civil police. However, since the will to act was apparently lacking and the police was passive and at places conniving with the mobs, the situation in this District remained out of control in almost all the police stations. The subordinate staff appeared to be confused because of lack of leadership on the part of DCP (South). In spite of clear instructions from the Police Commissioner’s office that there should be no hesitation in resorting to firing to control the situation, the police in the whole of South District did not rise to the occasion as a result of which all the Police Stations were badly affected. The responsibility of this failure falls squarely on the shoulders of DCP(South).
7.15. Two Police Stations namely Delhi Cantt. And Srinivaspuri were badly affected and accounted for the bulk of the killings in South District. It is, therefore, proposed to deal with these two in some detail and to highlight some incidents in the remaining Police Stations in the subsequent paragraphs.
SHO : Inspector Shri Vijay Malik
7.16. Mayapuri Industrial Area of South West Delhi and residential colonies like Naraina Vihar, Loha Mandi and part of Nangal Rai fall within the jurisdiction of this Police Station. There is one Police Post at Mayapuri.
Though no affidavits appear to have been filed before the Misra Commission from this Police Station, this Committee received 10 affidavits indicating Police inaction and failure to give protection from arson and looting. It has also been stated by Shri Amarpal Singh (106/87), Smt. Germej Kaur (225/87), Shri Charanjit Singh (106/87) and Shri SRS Malhotra (311/87), and others that the FIRs was not properly registered by the police and adequate compensation has not been paid by the Government for the losses sufferer by the deponents.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
7.17. Instances of violence started in this area on 31st October, 1984 when a chemist shop in Nangal Rai belonging to M/s. Kuldip Brothers was looted and set on fire. The main incidents of violence, however, occurred on 1.11.84 and continued up to 4th November, 1984. One very serious incident pertained to the looting and burning of a Gurudwara in C Block Narain Vihar at about 11.00 hrs on 1.11.84. Three persons were killed in this Gurudwara in the presence of the SHO and a party of police consisting of one SI , One Head Constable, Four Constables and one section of RAC (which consists of 10 people). According to the SHO he tried to persuade the three people to come down but they fell from the second floor in panic and died of burn injuries on the spot. He also states that 9 rounds were fired by him to save the situation. Obviously, this firing was not effective because no one was injured or killed during this firing.
7.18. The statement compiled by the Delhi Police indicates that no arrests were made under registered cases up to the 3rd of November, 1984. Besides there was no use of tear gas or lathi charge to disperse mobs. The firing resorted to was also ineffective. The arguments of the SHO that the force was too small to deal with the situation effectively also cannot be accepted because if effective use of the existing staff had been made, the situation would not have deteriorated to the extent to which it did. Besides, additional force was also deputed to this Police Station but apparently the will to act was completely lacking.
7.19. The SHO has mentioned only three deaths in his report but the Delhi Administration after enquiries have identified 14 deaths in this Police Station.
7.20. While there are no specific allegations against the SHO, the fact remains that the police in this area failed to take any effective action, as a result of which besides large-scale arson and loot, 14 people lost their lives. The general indifference which we witness in South District is evident in this Police Station also.
SHO : Inspector Rampal Singh
7.21. The Police Station of Ramakrishna Puram covers 13 Sectors of Government Quarters, Moti Bagh Government Quarters, Shanti Niketan , Palika Enclave etc.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
7.22. Violence in this area started on 31st October 1984 and continued up to 2nd November 1984. Taxi Stands were burnt down and the main market in Sector III of R.K.Puram was also set on fire. The Gurudwara in Sector III was also damaged. On 1.11.84 a serious incident took place in Palika Bhawan R.K. Puram where the crowd indulged in looting and arson.
AFFIDAVITS BEFORE MISRA COMMISSION
7.23. Shri Sarwan Singh R/o/ Gobindpuri (2654) has given a description of burning and looting of his shop; besides Mr. George Mathews (2642) and Shri Rajiv Lochan (2775) have also given affidavits to show the jubilant mood of the mob and the passive attitude of the police. Three affidavits have also been filed before this Committee complaining against police inactivity and loss sustained by the deponents.
7.24. During the riots the police had not made any arrests either under preventive sections of law or substantive offences. There was no use of tear smoke or lathi charge. Apparently on 1.11.84 the police resorted to firing on one occasion ( two rounds of rifle). The police station records, particularly the wireless log book, indicate that quite a few messages of loot and arson were coming in but no effective action appears to have been taken.
7.25. Although there are no personal allegations against any individual police officer of this area the general indifference and passivity on the part of police is certainly established.
SHO : Inspector Shri Daryao Singh
7.26. In this area affluent sections of the public reside in Vasant Enclave, Priya Enclave, Poorvi Marg, Munirka Marg and there is a well-known Public School, Guru Harkrishan Public School, within the jurisdiction of this Police Station.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
7.27. Incidents of violence started in this area in the afternoon of 31st October 1984 and arson and looting continued on 1st and a few incidents also occurred on 2nd November, 1984
AFFIDAVITS BEFORE MISRA COMMISSION
7.28. From the affidavits of independent people like : miss Poonam Muttreja (2510), Shri Vasant Saberwal (2643) and Shri Rajiv Lochan (2775), it is evident that the police in this area was not inclined to take any effective action against the rioters.
7.29. One of the most serious incidents was the burning down of the Guru Harkrishan Public School on 1st November, 1984. This has been graphically described by Miss Poonam Muttreja. This deponent learnt about the intention of the crowd to burn the School and the house of one Shri Oberoi who lived in her colony, at about 0700 hrs. She rang up the Vasant Vihar Police Station and informed them of the intention of the mob to burn up the School. The School was actually burnt at about 10.00 O’ Clock as is evident from the affidavit of Shri, S.M. Purohit (2591) who was the Vice Principal of the School but in spite of the efforts of Miss Poonam Muttreja the police failed to take any effective action. On the other hand the SHO who reached the place where the deponent was trying to dissuade the mob from burning the School, asked her to move away. The SHO was extremely rude to her and ordered her to stop interfering and went off on his motor cycle after talking to the crowd. The crowd then ran back to the School and set it on fire. She also made efforts to contact Hauz Khas police Station and telephone No. 100 at 9 AM. But without success. Thus in spite of her efforts for 3 hours police did not come to rescue and the School got burnt down at about 10 AM. She has given a graphic description of the attitude of the police not only in Vasant Vihar but in other areas. A maid servant gave her to understand that she should not be amazed at the behaviour of the police as her village had been visited by the police at night and the villagers had been told that they had three days in which they could loot the Sikh Community. Miss Muttreja joined the peace march and has given a description of the police inactivity in other areas of South District from which it would appear that the police was apathetic and indifferent to the violence which was spreading all over. She also visited relief camps in order to help the victims. Misra Commission and she stood by whatever she stated in her affidavit and so have other independent witnesses.
7.30. S/Shri Rajiv Lochan and Vasant Salbewal two students of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University and Shri Dinesh Mohan (2712) have also given similar versions of the police indifference in South Delhi. Their efforts to make the police act also met with no success. Wherever they met the police personnel, they seemed to be just watching indifferently and taking no effective action.
7.31. The report of SHO also indicates that they seemed to be just moving along with the crowd but not taking any effective and concrete action. Except for one arrests on 1.11.84 no arrests were made under registered cases or under preventive sections during the course of the riots. Neither there was any use of tear smoke or lathi charge or fire arms to control the riots.
7.32. Although there was no loss of life in this area the fact remains that arson and looting which could have been prevented was not prevented by the police. SHO’s role was also of a dubious nature.
SHO : Inspector Shiv Dutt Sharma
7.33. This Police Station covers residential and business area in and around Hauz Khas. Fairly well to do people reside in this area.
Violence in this Police Station started in the evening of 31st October 84 and continued right up to 3rd November, 1984.
AFFIDAVITS BEFORE THE MISRA COMMISSION
7.34. Shri Gopal Singh (2578) has stated that on 1.11.84 at about 10.00 AM. Police was outside the Gurudwara of the Colony but when the mob came the police disappeared and the Gurudwara was looted and set on fire. Smt. Satinder Kaur (2392) widow of late Wing Commander G.B.Singh has stated that her house was attacked on 1.11.84. The police came after a long delay and even when they came they merely sat outside in easy chairs gossiping and left after some time. Her house was again attacked by the same people and plundered and burnt down. She was saved because she had taken refuge in a neighbor’s house. Shri Dinesh Mohan (2712) has also described the general indifference and apathy of the police in that area.
7.34. The SHO of the area was on sick leave and Shri A.K. Ojha, ACP, was asked to look after the work. He appears to have made some efforts to deal with the situation and arrested 74 persons on 1.11.84 and also registered cases at the Police Station. Firing was also resorted to on one occasion. However, the SHO Shri Sharma was ordered to join back immediately and he joined on the morning of 2.11.84 . The SHO indicates only one death during the riots but according to the Ahuja Committee’s finding there were 19 deaths of residents of this Police Station. The details of these are not available from the records or the affidavits filed before the Misra Commission. In the statement of major J.S.Sandhu before the Misra Commission, who was on Recce--- duty on 1.11.84 , there is mention of an Inspector of Police in uniform who tried to misguide him on the road leading from Green Park towards the cantonment. However, he has not specified the name of the officer and it is, therefore, difficult to identify who exactly was misleading him.
7.36. Keeping in view the general trend, the conduct of Shri Ojha, ACP, can be appreciated as this is the only Police Station where a large number of arrests were made one day which had a salutary effect as thereafter there were fewer incidents. However, Shri Ojha functioned as SHO for one day only before the regular SHO returned to duty. Perhaps if he had continued there might have been even fewer incidents on subsequent days.
SHO : Inspector Jaipal Singh
7.37. This Police Station covers a number of villages such as Mahipalpur, Chattarpur, Gadaipur etc. In this area are also located a number of farms and farm houses belonging to VIPs and well to do people of Delhi. Affidavits received by the Committee are of a general nature stating police inaction resulting in losses in business establishment and general indifference on the part of the authorities.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
7.38. The main incidents of violence in this area started on 1.11.84 and continued up to 3.11.84. A number of farms belonging to the Sikh community were set on fire in this area. The most serious incident was at Chhatwal Poultary Farm on 1st November, 1984 when five members of the family were burnt to death. There was arson in Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Gurudwara Nanak Dairy and shops near Mahipalpur. Shops in Andheria Morh were also set ablaze besides petrol pump near Qutab Minar.
7.39. The incident of Chhatwal Farm was really distressing because the police were fully aware of the tension in this area from Addl. DCP downwards. As a matter of fact, ASI Dinesh Tiwari along with two Constables was stationed at the Farm to ensure that no untoward incident took place but in spite of these people being present, the Farm was set ablaze and 5 members of the family were burnt to death. There are complaints that Shri Jagjit Singh, owner of the Farm, had handed over this was taken away by the SHO . There are also complaint that the daughter of Shri jagjit Singh was molested by the ASI. Those complaints were enquired into by the Commissioner of Police but apparently could not be proved. It is however clear from the facts that Shri Dinesh Tiwari ASI who had been deputed at Chhatwal Farm was unable to control the situation and his plea that he had gone elsewhere when the attack took place appears unreliable. He had been depute by his superiors and he obviously did not do much to protest the Farm which resulted in the death of five members of the family.
7.40. It is also strange that in spite of the fact that mobs of thousands were roaming around and the police also resorted to firing no one was killed or even injured as a result of this. The police did not make any preventive arrests nor did they use any tear gas to disperse the crowds. The FIRs do not show any arrests in substantive cases, so the arrests of 25 persons in registered cases must have been made subsequent to the riots.
7.41. According to the police records, at least 9 persons were killed in the jurisdiction of this Police Station as per FIR