New Delhi: Delhi University professor Apoorvanand was questioned by the Delhi Police Monday in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots that broke out in February this year.
The professor said his phone has been seized by the police for investigation.
“On Monday, 3 August, 2020, I was asked by the Special Cell, Delhi Police to appear before it in the investigation into FIR no 59/20 related to the violence that happened in NE Delhi in February 2020. I spent five hours there. The Delhi Police also considered it necessary to seize my phone for the purpose of investigation,” Apoorvanand said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Apoorvanand’s phone hasn’t been returned by the police yet.
He told ThePrint that while he was there at the station for five hours, he was questioned for around 3 hours.
“There was violence and, hence, we must all know who the real perpetrators were, it’s only in the best interest of the nation that they are found and the truth established,” Apoorvanand said when approached by ThePrint for a comment.
The DU professor said in the statement that the police shouldn’t harass, and victimise protesters and their supporters who opposed, through Constitutional means, the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and the process to create a National Population Register.
Apoorvanand, who teaches Hindi at Delhi University, added that he hoped the Delhi Police’s probe into the violence that killed 53 and injured around 250 others will focus on the “real instigators and perpetrators against a peaceful citizens’ protest and the people of North East Delhi”.
When ThePrint reached Delhi Police, its public relations officer Eish Singhal said: “Apoorvanand was called with regard to the Northeast Delhi riots case investigation. He was summoned through a notice. His phone has been taken by the investigating team for a probe.”
Asked when his phone would be returned and if he would be summoned again, the PRO declined to comment.
‘Home Minister, PM treated CAA protesters like enemies’
Urging the police to conduct a just and fair investigation into the violence, the professor said in his statement that it is disturbing to see a “theory” emerging that treats the “supporters of the protesters as the source of violence”.
Speaking to ThePrint, he further said: “What we see is that the February violence ultimately resulted in the disruption of all protest sites that were holding strong since the last two months. Assuming that the protesters whether in Shaheen Bagh or in other places would take such a suicidal step to destroy themselves is absurd.”
He added, “The only thing that these protesters wanted was for the government to hear their concerns and cries, while recognising the legitimacy of the government. In return, the government functionaries, the Home Minister, the Prime Minister and other BJP leaders treated them like enemies and launched a smear campaign against them. They pitched them as being against another section of the society.”
The DU professor also said the whole investigation into the riots has been turned on its head.
“Protests are never against other sections of the society, but this time we saw that misinformation and hate was launched against those showing dissent,” he added.
“Never in the history of independent India has any protest been attacked by other sections of the society. But this time, we saw gangs attacking the protests on behalf of the government. They were legitimised by the state. The point is that we cannot give others the licence to do that with protesters who wanted the government to hear them out,” he added.
On the Delhi Police’s interrogation report that mentioned former AAP leader Tahir Hussain and former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, the DU professor said this is not the natural course of justice.
“It is against the principle of natural justice to publicise something attributed to a person who is in no position to confirm or deny the statement of the police,” Approvanand said.
“We earnestly hope that the professionalism of our investigative agencies is employed in finding the real perpetrators and source of violence, which targeted mainly the protesters and the people from the Muslim community,” he added.
Apoorvanand writes for ThePrint.