What Is My Crime? Asks Doctor Who Saved Lives And Is Now Named In Delhi Riots Murder Case

Betwa Sharma
Dr. Muhammad Ehtesham Anwar

NEW DELHI —  As the worst communal riots in recent memory scorched through northeast Delhi in February, the Al Hind hospital emerged as an unlikely oasis for the injured. The modest two-storey hospital and clinic gained national attention when the Delhi High Court issued an extraordinary order in the dead of night directing the Delhi Police to provide safety passage for ambulances ferrying patients from Al Hind to city hospitals.

Now the Delhi police are saying that Muhammad Ehtesham Anwar, the 40-year-old doctor who spoke with Justice S Muralidhar that fateful night, organised protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) starting from 15 February and instigating violence on the night of 23 February. Anwar has also been named in the police’s final report into the death of 20-year-old waiter Dilbar Negi.

This weekend at Al Hind, the only reminder of the carnage four months ago were lengths of rope still strung across the large hall on the hospital’s first floor. At the peak of the mob’s fury, the rope was used to strung up saline drips for hundreds of injured men and women sprawled across the floor.

“This floor was filled with people screaming for help. We were looking at blood and bones everywhere. There were two dead bodies over there,” Anwar recalled. “We never even asked the names of the people who came in. I have a staff of very few people. We were working like machines.”

Anwar said he was “shocked” and “devastated” to learn that the police was saying that he had incited violence. 

“If one does something for people, for the community, for the country, then will that person be targeted?” Anwar said. “Was it a crime to try and save the lives of those who were suffering? Is this campaign to malign me and scare anyone else who brings attention to government failure?”

The Indian Express, which first reported on the chargesheet that was filed in the Karkardooma district court on 4 June, cited the Delhi Police as claiming that...

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