must hold a free and fair investigation

VHP and other groups must not be allowed to sow communal hate and incite violence against Muslims!

On 10th February the Mongolpuri of Delhi saw the unfortunate murder of Rinku Sharma, a resident of the area. The Delhi Police have arrested five persons- Zahid, Mehtab, Nasruddin, Islam, Tazuddin- in connection with the murder. The Delhi DCP of Outer Delhi has gone on record to say that there is no ‘communal link in the crime’ and that Rinku Sharma’s murder was a case triggered by a business rivalry.

While this is the time to allow the family of the bereaved to mourn their loss and seek lawful justice for the murder victim, the local VHP and Bajrang Dal have started a vicious campaign to paint the whole as being a case of communally motivated ‘jihad’ by the Muslim community. The VHP is using the fact that the accused are Muslims, to whip up a campaign of communal frenzy and hatred in the Mongolpuri. From many accounts published in the media quoting top officials of the Delhi Police, the murder of Rinku Sharma seems to have been a fallout of a business dispute. The Indian Express has also reported that the families of Rinku Sharma and the murder-accused had known each other for a long time and had cordial relations. To communalise the situation the VHP has been peddling the baseless claim that Rinku Sharma was murdered because he chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

It is most shameful that the AAP instead of calling out the efforts of the VHP in vitiating the situation and using this incident to further its agenda of hatred and divisiveness, is actually parroting the VHP line. The AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha in a press conference too repeated VHP’s baseless claim that Rinku Sharma was killed for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and demanded to know why Hindus were unsafe with Home Minister Amit Shah in control of Delhi Police. Instead of appealing for people to maintain peace and harmony it is fuelling the hate campaign of the VHP. The AAP as the party of Government in Delhi has completely abdicated its responsibility to calm the situation down, and is instead seeking to preempt and compete with its rival BJP’s communal propaganda. The VHP also held a public meeting in Mongolpuri where speaker after speaker spewed communal venom and made provocative speeches. The meeting was attended largely by people who were not residents of the area and were mobilised from UP, Rajasthan and nearby states with the clear intention of provoking violence. There are further reports that hatemonger Kapil Mishra who stoked Delhi riots in February 2020, and the terror-accused MP Pragya Thakur, are seeking to visit Mongolpuri.

While the Delhi Police had stated that the murder was due to a business deal gone bad, it remained a mute spectator to the campaign of the VHP in Mongolpuri to threaten the families of the accused, many of whom have left. The Delhi Police also allowed the VHP to hold a public meeting which was clearly aimed at promoting violence against Muslims living in the area.

The Crime Branch which has now taken over the investigation has changed the tune and is now looking into all “possible angles”. This shift has been clearly caused with directions from above and pressure from right wing groups.

A delegation of left parties including CPIML, other secular parties and prominent citizens of Mongolpuri met the local SHO, ACP and DCP of Delhi and impressed upon them that a completely unbiased investigation must take place and the guilty must be punished. They also told Police officials that it is their responsibility that groups like VHP must not be allowed to communalise the incident especially when people who are not from the area are brought into with a plan to incite violence against Muslim in the area.

The CPIML Delhi State Committee appealed to all citizens of Delhi and especially of Mongolpuri to demand a free and fair investigation into the murder of Rinku Sharma and call out attempts of the VHP and BJP leaders to use the incident to sow communal hate and violence in Delhi.