Kusum Lata Mittal Report
C H A P T E R – I
C E N T R A L D I S T R I C T
D.C.P. : Shri Amod K. Kanth
Addl. D.C.P. : Shri Neeraj Kumar
1.1. This District covers some of the most thickly populated areas of Delhi and New Delhi and has some very big business and training centers in Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Darya Ganj and Kamla Market. The District is divided into the following 4 Sub Divisions with an assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of each for the purpose of supervisions: -
(i) SUB-DIVISION PATEL NAGAR
A.C.P. : Shri Ram Murti Sharma
P.S. Patel Nagar SHO : Inspector Amrik Singh 16.2.83 to 15.5.85
PS Karol Bagh SHO : Inspector Ranbir Singh 2.9.82 to 15.2.85
PS Rajinder Nagar SHO : Inspector Hardeep Singh 27.9.84 to 27.10.85
(ii) SUB DIVISION PAHAR GANJ
ACP : Shri Parbhati Lal
PS Pahar Ganj SHO : Inspector Shanti Sarup Manan, 24.12.82 to 27.10.85
PS Desh Bandhu SHO : Inspector Mohinder Singh, 14.7.83 to 12.2.86
(iii) SUB DIVISION KAMLA MARKET
A.C.P. : Shri Amrik Singh
PS Kamla Market SHO : Inspector Virender Singh, 28.6.82 to 15.2.85
PS. Hauz Qazi SHO : Inspector Bali Singh, 2.9.82 to 15.2.85
(iv) SUB DIVISION DARYA GANJ
A.C.P. : Shri Ajmer Singh
PS. Darya Ganj SHO : Inspector Ved Pal Rathee: 14.7.83 to 6.5.86
PS. Jama Masjid SHO : Inspector Prithi Singh 14.7.83 to 12.2.86
PS. Chandni Mahal SHO : Inspector Rajinder Nath: 3.5.84 to 15.3.86
1.2. The Central District was one of the most sensitive areas as it has a mixed population and the business establishments are also mixed up with shops of Sikhs and non-Sikhs side by side.
1.3. Soon after the news of shooting of the former Prime Minister spread, DCP Shri Amod K. Kanth convened a meeting of his officers and gave detailed instructions for patrolling by the staff. The incidents of violence started on the night of 31.10.84, particularly in Rehgarpura in Karol Bagh, Desh Bandhu Gupta Road and Pahar Ganj areas. However, the main trouble started on the morning of 1.11.84. It goes to the credit of the police officers of this District that they made genuine and sincere efforts at almost all the levels to control rioting and deal effectively with the rioters. The DCP himself as well as his other staff opened fire on a number of occasions to control the situation. Taking the cue from their seniors, most of the subordinate staff, particularly the SHOs were also quite effective in controlling the situation in their areas. Infact, the performance of this District indicates that had there been a sincere desire and will on the part of the administration and the police to control the situation, it could possibly also have been done in other parts of Delhi. A number of persons in their affidavits have appreciated the role of the Deputy Commissioner of Police and some of the SHOs. Not only have such affidavits come before the Misra Commission, but also before the Committee.
1.4. The figures given in the annexure would show that preventive arrests in the District had started on 31st October 1984 itself. A large number of people were arrested on Ist November under substantive offences and force was used quite effectively by way of firing and tear-gas. This helped in bringing the situation reasonably under control.
1.5. The total number of deaths in the whole of this District according to Delhi Administration would be about 62. Keeping in view what happened in other areas this is a matter of some satisfaction. The evidence on record shows that besides the police being alert, the proper use of Army was also made. Army reached the District in the evening of 1st November 1984. Flag marches were organized and the police officers right upto the level of DCP were moving about along with the Army in trouble spots.
1.6 Some of the officers who have done really good work and deserve commendation
are as follows: -
(a) SHRI AMOD K. KANTH, DCP, as Chief of the District Police, he provided the right leadership and a firm desire to deal with the situation promptly and effectively. In one particular instance, he had done exceptionally good work by disarming a person who was firing at the mob in Chuna Mandi, Pahar Ganj. At great personal risk, he had got into the house and saved a very explosive situation. Both he and the SHO, Pahar Ganj, have already been given a Police Medal for gallantry for their role in this incident. His efforts are all the more creditable since it was in his area that cremation of the late Prime Minister was to be done and elaborate arrangements were also required to be supervised.
He also took the correct legal measures regarding recovery of stolen/looted property and a large number of persons were arrested at his instance. Local leaders resented this and even went to the extent of going to the Karol Bagh Police Station and misbehaving with him in the presence of Addl. C.P. Shri Jatav who apparently did not support his own DCP. This has been dealt with in some detail later while dealing with this Police Station.
(b) SHRI NEERAJ KUMAR, ADDL. DCP : Like his DCP, he also took effective measures to deal with the situation in the field. In one particular incident when there was a fire in a seven-storied building adjoining a timber shop on Desh Bandu Gupta and Chitra Gupta roads crossing, he realized that any delay would have led to great loss of life and property as some LPG cylinders also were stored in a tin shed nearby. He went to the Fire Station personally, spoke to the Chief Fire Officer and came back with fire tenders, as a result of which the fire could be brought under control for which he deserves to be commended.
One other incident of 1st November deserves special mention. Shri Neeraj Kumar had been on the move and taking effective action and when he learnt that some houses of Sikhs were being looted near Lal Mandir in West Patel Nagar, he reached there. Seeing the police cars, most of the miscreants ran away but he along with his men surrounded the house and apprehended 5 culprits red-handed. At that time, one Inspector of the Crime Branch, Shamsher Singh, was passing that way in a police jeep. After identifying himself, Shri Neeraj Kumar asked Inspector Shamsher Singh for his help so that the culprits could be taken to the police station in his jeep. This Inspector refused point-blank and in an impudent manner declined to take the arrested persons to the Police Station and drove off.
Shri Neeraj Kumar reported this incident to the Addl. C.P. Shri Jatav for action against the defaulting Inspector. The DCP Shri A.K. Kanth also supported the complaint of Shri Neeraj Kumar. He even suggested that the matter should be brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Police for his information and orders. Instead of taking any action against this Inspector, Shri Jatav sided with the Inspector and held it to be a case of misunderstanding rather than a deliberate act of disobedience and indiscipline. Shri Jatav thus preferred to close the matter at his level and in this way supported this act of indiscipline. Addl. C.P. seemed to be prejudiced against the officers of Central District who were doing good work and were preventing loot and arson.
C) SHRI AJMER SINGH, ACP, DARYA GANJ : He was continuously on the move in the Sub Division during the whole period of riots in spite of the fact that he was a Sikh officer. He kept his Sub Division more or loss free from serious incidents. This is all the more creditable as he as also associated with the arrangements near Raj Ghat where the late Prime Minister was to be cremated. He also deserves to be commended.
1.7. In addition to the above mentioned officers, the following officers did good work: -
(i) INSPECTOR RANBIR SINGH, SHO KAROL BAGH: - saved quite a few persons in specific instances. It also goes to his credit that the prestigious shopping center at Ajmal Khan Road was fully saved. This area covers not only a large number of shops but also quite a few jewellery shops and similar business establishments. Any looting or arson in the area could have led to tremendous loss to the people. A number of individuals and organizations have appreciated his good conduct during the riots.
(ii) INSPECTOR HARDEEP SINGH, SHO, RAJINDER NAGAR (a Sikh officer) was also firm in dealing with the miscreants. Besides rescuing many Sikhs who were trapped in a Gurudwara, he also saved a number of buildings from arson. There was hardly any serious incident in Rajinder Nagar except a few in Inder Puri. He also sustained injuries during the riots.
(iii) INSPECTOR MOHINDER SINGH, SHO DESH BANDHU GUPTA ROAD: -
He supervised his area effectively. He saved a large number of Sikh families and also arrested 75 miscreants. He also received injuries while effectively dealing with and tackling the crowds.
(iv) INSPECTOR VED PAL RATHEE OF PS DARYA GANJ was very active in his area and made proper police arrangements not only for controlling the riots but also regarding the cremation of late Prime Minister.
All the above 4 SHOs deserve commendation
1.8. Some serious incidents in the various Police Stations are discussed in some detail:
P.S. PATEL NAGAR
(i) SHO Patel Nagar Inspector Amrik Singh was a Sikh Officer. He was directed by the DCP to stay at the Police Station and simultaneously the Asstt. Commissioner was directed to take charge and deal with the situation.
(ii) In their affidavits, S. Amrik Singh (2301) AND S Baljit Singh (2601) have named some local leaders who were stated to have been instigating and even leading the mobs but no individual police officer has been named as being negligent.
(iii) A few serious incidents of this police station need to be mentioned. On 1st November 1984, Bungalow No.9 in West Patel Nagar in P.S. Patel Nagar was attacked by a mob. Group Captain Manmohan Singh, a retired Air Force Officer, residing in this house started firing at the mob as a result of which 3 persons got killed and a few injured. Besides, DCP, the Commissioner of Police himself had reached the scene and Shri Manmohan Singh was persuaded to surrender, without any physical harm to him or his family. He was then taken to the Police Station. A case was registered against him but on a complaint by his wife, a case was registered against the rioters. This shows that there was no attempt to minimize or conceal the incident. Group Captain Manmohan Singh had filed an affidavit (2445) and alleged before Misra Commission that he and the members of his family were unjustifiably arrested. However, the fact remains that the quantum of force used by him can only be decided judicially by a court of law. Moreover, the fact that they were not allowed to be physically harmed in spite of such a large mob being present and provocation being there would show that the police was acting effectively.
(iv) Another serious incident in PS. Patel Nagar was the burning alive of Shri Kartar Singh on 3.11.84. A separate case has been registered in respect of this incident. Addl. DCP in his report-dated 12.2.85 has explained that a message had been received regarding the house having been attacked by a crowd. Neither the DCP nor the Addl. DCP could proceed to the spot as the cremation of the former Prime Minister was in progress. Immediately after the cremation, they went there and 18 culprits were arrested in raids made in the area of the neighborhood. Some of the stolen/looted property including the deceased person’s gun looted from his house was also recovered from the culprits. This also shows that the officers took efficient action.
(v) One of the reasons for this P.S. not being as effective as most others of this District could be that the SHO was asked to stay back at the PS. However, it goes to the credit of the local police that FIRs, do contain the names of the accused as given by the complainants and no efforts were made to minimize the crime.
P.S. RAJINDER NAGAR
The area of Inderpuri in P.S. Rajinder Nagar was somewhat badly affected during these riots. There was looting on 1st November 84 and it would appear that it was not effectively controlled by Sub Inspector Ranbir Singh who was on duty. Two dead bodies of Sikhs were also found the next morning. A large number of arrests were subsequently made during the investigation and it appears that there was no attempt to spare anyone. Similarly, a mob had set fire to the house of one Shri Kirpal Singh Chawla who, in turn, along with his brother was firing from his house. In this incident 2 persons were shot and a few received bullet injuries. Here again, no physical harm was caused to the two persons who were firing from their house in self-defense and the situation was controlled.
P.S. PAHAR GANJ
One of the serious incidents in P.S. Pahar Ganj relates to FIR No. 319. This incident occurred on the night of 5.11.84 and some Sikhs were stated to have been firing from a house in Gali No.1, Chuna Mandi P.S. Pahar Ganj. The two constables on patrolling duty also fired 10 rounds and the senior officers reached the spot along with an army patrol. Three persons, one Sikh, one Hindu and an army man were killed in this incident. As already mentioned earlier, the DCP and SHO have already been awarded gallantry medals in this case and the life of the owners of the house could be saved from the mob and more loss of life and property avoided.
P.S. DARYA GANJ
In this Police Station, the situation was generally kept under control. The SHO in his report-dated 20.11.84 has, however, mentioned as follows: -
“ 6 Names of officers/men guilty of improper handling of the situation:
1. SI Om Prakash No. 1281/D.
2. ASI Rameshwar Nath no. 1237/C.
3. Const. Mahender Singh No. 977/C.
“SI Om Parkash Div/Officer along with beat constable Mahender Singh No. 977/C and ASI Rameshwar Nath No. 127/C of local police were detailed at Daya Nand Road on 1.11.84 for duty along with some outside force. They were properly briefed and instructed not to allow any gathering there but after protecting Gandhi Market and petrol pump etc, while Is reached Daya Nand Road, I noticed a gathering of about 4/5 thousands and the above staff was standing like spectators. I further noticed that the crowds was breaking locks/shutters of shops and setting the shops on fire. I along with staff in the jeep dispersed the crowd by lathi charging and saved the cars and other properties. Had the above staff taken proper and timely action as briefed, nothing adverse could have happened on that day. They were present while the Marina Store was being set on fire and shops being looted.”
It is presumed that action against them would have been taken by the Delhi Police. In case no action has been taken, the same may be taken now.
P.S. KAROL BAGH
There are two affidavits pertaining to this police station the deponents of which were examined in the Misra Commission. Both pertain to the same facts.
(i) SHRI AVTAR SINGH VIR (2357), an Advocate Krishna Nagar in Karol Bagh had described the attack made on his house on 1st November 1984. Along with his 2 sons had been able to hold out. All the 3 were injured during the attack by the mob. He named a number of persons of the locality who were leading the attacks. He complained that no police help was given to him in spite of his having telephoned the local police station as well as officers. He had not named any individual police officer but had complained of general apathy by police. In his cross-examination he had accepted that on the 1st November at 1.00 PM when the attacked were being made, a Hindu gentleman brought some police men from Dev Nagar and asked the police to open fire. Six rounds were fired in the air and the entire mob dispersed. The next day, a policeman was also at his house for security for some time.
(ii) SHRI CHUNI LAL (2369), Another deponent, narrated the facts pertaining to the attack on house of Shri Avtar Singh. He had also given names of some of the persons who formed part of mob. He was, however, reluctant to be cross-examination, as he did not want it be known that he had either filed such an affidavit or given any statement involving the other persons who belonged to his own caste.
(iii) However, these two affidavits have confirmed one fact, that the mob indulging in looting and arson were locals and the culprits were quite well known. According to the deponents, they also had the support of the local political leaders. Yet the fact that no physical harm could be caused to Shri Avtar Singh and his sons and they did manage to survive would show that the police in this area was not ineffective.
(iv) Evidence on record indicates that effective action was taken by the police to recover the stolen property in accordance with the provisions of the law and arrest of those indulging in loot was affected. When the situation was under control, a massive drive was launched by Inspector Ranbir Singh, SHO, Karol Bagh, on 3rd and 4th November. Property worth Rs.20 Lakhs was recovered and 24 persons arrested. This was resented by the local leaders who protested violently. According to confidential d.o. Letter No. 5347/CB© dated 7.11.84 from Shri A.K. Kanth, DCP, addressed to Shri H.C.Jatav, Addl C.P. with copy to Commissioner of Police, this incident of Karol Bagh P.S. is highlighted as follows: -
“ 2. On 5th November, 1984, Shri Dharam Dass Shastri, M.P. accompanied by Shri M.L. Bakolia, Shri Gurbax Singh, Shri M.L. Khurana @ manni, Smt, Sunder Wati Nawal (all Metropolitan Councilors), S/Shri Surjit Singh Gandhi, Brahm Yadav (all Municipal Councilors) and Dev Raj Dewan, a notorious criminal and proprietor of the cabaret ‘Kamal’ (all from congress-I) came to Police Station Karol Bagh. They were also accompanied by 3 truckloads of ruffians who reportedly had also indulged in the riots.
3. Shri Dharam Dass Shastri started a tirade against the police action, publicly condemned us for having arrested some people and openly declared that these rioters could not be categorized as ‘criminal’. All the Councillors named above reportedly warned us of dire-consequences and further riots if any action was taken against those in possession of looted property. Shri M.L. Bakolia, a local MMC almost attacked SHO Karol Bagh and openly abused me for the action taken. Shri Brahm Yadav, Municipal Councillor and President, Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress-I, along with Prof. Ram Nath Vij and other Councillors, had been creating a very difficult situation for us when we arrested 65 rioters from the area of Todapur and Inderpuri who had indulged in arson and killings. Both of them kept the staff of P.S. Rajinder Nagar at bay for 2/3 days and did not permit them to either apprehend the criminals and recover the property or make protective arrangements. They also spread a malicious propaganda in the area that it were only the Sikhs army and police officer Major Virk, and, the area SHO who were rounding up the rioters.”
This incident is corroborated by the affidavit of Shri Sanjay Suri (2735) and three private persons Shri Pritpal Singh (2273), Jaswant Singh (159) and Shri Surjit Singh (153) who were present at the police station when all the abovementioned leaders led by Shri Dharam Dass Shastri M.P., were trying to bully the police officers in order to get the apprehended criminals released. The leaders stated that these persons were not criminals. One of the deponents Shri Jaswant Singh has deposed that in an attempt to get the culprits released, one of the leaders caught hold of SHO by the collar and threatened him that they would have to be released, as they were his supporters. Shri Sanjay Suri in his affidavit (2735) is even more specific and gives details of the incident. He has described how he saw everything going on inside the room where the local Member of Parliament Shri Dharam Dass Shastri along with his supporters was shouting at and abusing the policemen in the presence of Shri H.C. Jatav, Addl. C.P. The shouting was directed at the DCP and the SHO and Shri Jatav was, more or less, sympathizing with the local M.P. Further, he has described how the DCP was almost in tears when he came out of the room and when the Press Reporter asked the Addl. C.P. as to why he was not supporting his own officers against the illegal orders of the local M.P. Shri Jatav replied that these officers did not know how to handle the local leaders. This incident would show that Shri Jatav was prone to act under pressure to appease local leaders even to the extent of letting his subordinates who had done good work, be humiliated publicly.
vi) In his letter dated 7.11.84 referred to above, Shri Amod K. Kanth has apparently not made any reference to the presence of Shri Jatav even though this is confirmed from the affidavit of Shri Sanjay Suri. Shri Kanth had been decent enough not to involve his immediate superiors and only wanted to bring the matter on record by endorsing a copy of the same to the Commissioner of Police also.
11.9. (i) The events in this District show that the police officers had been on the move most of the time and made genuine efforts to save life and property. The evidence forthcoming shows that they were under pressure from influential and local leaders including the Member of Parliament of the area, besides, the Addl. Commissioner of Police, himself. This could be one of the reasons why some violent incidents occurred on 3rd as well as 5th November. The mobs were apparently restive since they had not been able to indulge in violence and loot as in other parts of Delhi. The fact that in a number of instances, the Sikhs could open fire in self-defense and still get away without being lynched would also indicate that they did expect the police to intervene fairly and not side with the mobs”.
(ii) In a situation like the one prevailing at that time, some casualties were unavoidable but the District has to be judged by its overall performance. It also goes to the credit of the police that there is not a single affidavit naming any individual persons, even though there have been a few cases of general laxity.
1.10. (i) It is not proposed to recommend any action against any police personnel of the District. On the other hand, the role of the following officers needs to be appreciated: -
1. Shri Amod K. Kanth, D.C.P.
2. Shri Neeraj Kumar, Addl. D.C.P.
3. Shri Ajmer Singh, ACP, Darya Ganj
4. Inspector Ranbir Singh, SHO, P.S. Karol Bagh
5. Inspector Pardeep Singh, SHO, P.S. Rajinder Nagar
6. Inspector Mohinder Singh, SHO, P.S. Desh Bandhu Gupta Road
7. Inspector V.P. Rathee, SHO, P.S. Darya Ganj.
(ii) S.H.O. Darya Ganj, had, in his report-dated 20.12.84, mentioned the names of some officials who had not come upto the mark in controlling the situation. Details of these have been given in para I 8(D) above. In case no action had been taken on his report, the same should be initiated now.
(iii) The conduct of Addl. C.P. (Range), Shri H.C. Jatav will be discussed separately.