Kusum Lata Mittal Report :Delhi Riots – 1984
Kusum Lata Mittal Report
C H A P T E R – 8
S H R I G A U T A M K A U L, A C P , N E W D E L H I R A N G E
8.1. Shri Gautam Kaul, Addl. Commissioner of Police, was overall in charge of South, West and New Delhi District.
8.2. It goes to the credit of Shri Kaul that even though he was the first cousin of Smt. Indira Gandhi, on receiving the news of shooting in the Prime Minister’s House he did not lose his nerve in such a crisis. On the other hand, he showed initiative in organizing the investigation into the case and looked after the Bandobast at the AIIMS. , PM’s residence and Teen Murti House where the body of the late Prime Minister was later kept for 3 days in State. His request for making all possible force of CRPF etc. available to Delhi police also shows his presence of mind and foresight.
8.3. It was, however, unfortunate that he was so engrossed in looking after the affairs outside and inside Teen Murti house that he did not realize that the DCPs of South and West Districts were not handling the situation in their respective areas properly, which resulted in break-down of law and order in these two Districts. While the situation in New Delhi District was, by and large, controlled, this was not the case in the other two Districts.
8.4. What is surprising is that even the arrests made by Shri Kaul himself in the evening of1.11.84 appear to have been taken very lightly by DCP (South) as would be clear from the following :-
Shri Kaul slays that on receiving a wireless message that villagers had come into the Friends Colony and were burning and looting the bungalows indiscriminately, he rushed towards Friends Colony where he met DCP(South) who was moving about with 2 sections strength in a pick-up. Near the house of Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, on being informed that some people had gone into a neighboring house, he went in and during his search he discovered one man in the cupboard of the bath room of that house. He pulled him out and he started shrieking. Other villagers who were hiding under the beds, in almirahs and under blankets also suddenly exposed themselves in panic, and he discovered 8 looters with their pockets filled with money and other articles of loot. In another house, he caught another 6persons who were indulging in looting. According to Shri Kaul, he and the DCP(South) arrested about 40 looters in a 2 hour operation. He instructed DCP(South) to dispatch the arrested persons to the police station (in this case Srinivaspuri) and thereafter he organized a self-defense group of the residents of the Colony so that they could patrol the area at regular intervals. Later at about 9.30 PM., a bus-load of arrested ‘looters’ was brought from other Police Stations and they were all locked up in PS Defence Colony. Some of them had attacked passengers in the trains at Palam and some were persons who were detained by the Railway Police in Tughlakabad Railway Yard. He then instructed DCP(South) to issue instructions to register as many cases per incident as possible and also that special investigating teams be created in the Police Stations for registration of FIRs and their subsequent investigation.
8.5. The records of South Delhi District are, however, silent about all these arrests made by or in the presence of Shri Kaul, Addl. C.P. Apparently these people were let off once Shri Kaul’s back was turned, as has been discussed while dealing with the respective Police Stations in South District. Obviously, DCP(South) was not keen to get cases registered and he even had the audacity to let off the looters caught by the Addl. Commissioner of Police himself.
8.6. While one does not expect one’s subordinates to behave in this irresponsible manner, it would have been better if Shri Kaul had checked whether the instructions he was giving were being actually implemented especially as trouble in this District was not being contained. Had be subsequently cross-checked perhaps the situation in South and West Districts would not have deteriorated to the extent that it did.
8.7. The police personnel of these two Districts did not behave in a disciplined manner. The overall supervisory responsibility for trouble in these two Districts, although mainly that of the DCPs concerned, does to some extent devolve on Shri Kaul as he did not keep check on what was happening in these two Districts. As a matter of fact, he completely ignored the West District and did not visit it even once during the riots.
8.8. On an overall assessment, however , the picture which emerges is that Shri Gautam Kaul did his best within his limitations to organise the affairs in the areas in which he went. His general response in a situation of crisis were such as could be expected from a seasoned senior officer of a disciplined force. He was, however, let down badly by two of his Deputy Commissioners of Police.