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“They want to undermine the secular democratic Constitution of India, and in its place, a declared objective of the RSS for nearly a century that India should be a rabidly intolerant, theocratic, fascistic Hindutva Rashtra. It is their declared objective. It is not something hidden. This is what they say that India should be, if that has to be there then this constitutional order has to go,” Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury is one of the latest names that finds mention in a Delhi riots charge sheet.
He, however, does not call the violence in Delhi from February 2020, which killed at least 53 people, 38 Muslims and 15 Hindus, and led to properties worth crores getting destroyed, a riot. Calling it communal violence he says, “I do not agree with this term calling riot.”
Yechury was named in UAPA accused and anti-CAA activist Gulfisha Fatima’s disclosure statement under FIR 50, registered under Jaffrabad police station. Her statement states that according to plan, Yechury and other leaders came in to provoke and mobilise the crowd.
Read our interview with Yechury below.
First off, the moment you heard that your name was in one of the charge sheets, what was your instant reaction?
I was actually very surprised. How do I figure in this entire issue of communal violence that took place, because I do not agree with this term calling ‘riot’. It wasn’t a riot; it was a one-sided violent attack. So what was the connection? And then the tenuous connection was made out saying, that anti-CAA protests and anti-CAA protests were the cause of this violence, which is ridiculous. I mean, this is a fabricated orchestration of trying to create a new narrative about how that violence took place. Why I say it is a fabrication and an orchestration is that 53 people died in this violence; there is not one charge sheet; everybody in the world has seen, on the social media, the hate speeches, including that by a union minister, the BJP leaders and the chronology of the incident, so to speak. Nothing on that.
When you speak of various speeches by BJP leaders, The Quint, we have ourselves reported on several complaints that have not been converted to FIRs, but of course I do want to say that there have been various charge sheets that have filed regarding the deaths of not only Hindus but also Muslims. So you have FIR 60, which is about head constable Ratan Lal, then you have FIR 65 which is IB (Intelligence Bureau) official Ankit Sharma, you have 102, 103, 104 which are regarding the 9 Muslims who died and the Hindu Kattar WhatsApp group. So I’d like to say that charge sheets are being filed in murder or rioting cases, etc.
What is the priority? If you are investigating the violence, what is your priority. You proceed on that investigation, the murders, the hate speeches. Instead, you are proceeding in which direction? And that is the motivation -- that the Delhi Police is working directly under the Union Home Ministry. Well, the game plan of the investigation or to use our Home Minister’s terminology, the chronology of this investigation, was spelt out in the Parliament itself. You had the Union Home Minister lauding the Delhi Police for speedy action when the violence took place, saying that it is the anti-CAA protests that were the conspirators for the violence.
Why do you think they’re attacking anti-CAA protesters?
That is because CAA is their pet project. They want to undermine the secular democratic Constitution of India and in its place, a declared objective of the RSS for nearly a century that India should be a rabidly intolerant, theocratic, fascistic Hindutva Rashtra. It is their declared objective. It is not something hidden. This is what they say that India should be, if that has to be there then this constitutional order has to go.
What do you make of your name coming up in Gulfisha Fatima’s disclosure statement?
I do not know about the authenticity of these statements. Many of these pages have not been signed by these three young women.
To clarify, among the three, Gulfisha Fatima has signed the statement. So how did your name feature in her disclosure statement, which has been signed?
You ask her. I may have definitely met her, I am not denying it but the point is, it is not out of any familiarity that my name would have come up. And how that came up, they’ll have to answer.
We reached out to Gulfisha Fatima’s lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, who said, “It is absolutely false and baseless. It is the police’s agenda to further their narrative on the basis of what those in the government want.” Also, it is important to mention that under Section 25 of the Evidence Act disclosure statements to not have evidentiary value till it leads to recovery of evidence.
Do you plan to take any action regarding your name coming up in the charge sheet?
No. Why should I take action? Let’s see what the police does, and they’ve been busy clarifying that there is nothing to be done.
They (Delhi Police) has said that it was “truthfully recorded as narrated to them”.
So they say.
Are you afraid at all, of being arrested or your name featuring in more charge sheets or anything like that?
Listen, I belong to a generation that fought the Emergency and restored democracy. This government is here today in office because of that democracy. We fought, we restored democracy. We will fight this and we will defend our Constitution. Mobilising people for a certain objective, is never wrong. It is a constitutional right. Right to a peaceful mobilisation, which is what I was doing. As long as the Constitution remains, this right remains with me, having sworn on this Constitution and taken oath on this Constitution a number of times.
Do you feel like there is a stronger need right now, considering the stage of the investigation, for people to come together and show solidarity with these activists? Do you think enough is happening?
No, I mean much more needs to happen. No doubt about it. But there are efforts to show solidarity, but then the point is that the whole effort of this State, so to speak, this BJP government, is to intimidate people. Saying that if you come, this is what will happen to you also.
Are they succeeding?
Well, I hope they don’t. They are not succeeding with me. They won’t succeed with many of us. I am appealing to people to not fall into that trap.
. Read more on Politics by The Quint.‘BJP Intimidates People’: Yechury on His Name in Delhi Riots ProbeHey Kangana, Name-Calling Makes You a ‘Mean Girl’, Not a Feminist . Read more on Politics by The Quint.