Delhi police lay riot charges against government critics

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By Alasdair Pal

NEW DELHI, September 17 (Reuters) – Indian police have filed charges against 15 people over Hindu-Muslim riots in the capital, a spokesperson said on Thursday, which drew criticism from advocacy groups. rights according to which the authorities targeted the opposition and minority Muslims.

The February violence killed more than 50 people and forced thousands of people out of their homes, most of them from the Muslim minority, which forms about 15% of a population of around 1.3 billion. The riots followed months of sometimes violent protests against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.

The charges were laid in a court in eastern New Delhi, police spokesman Anil Mittal said, adding that the evidence against the accused ran to more than 17,000 pages.

Mittal did not identify those charged, but national media named former members of two opposition parties and academics at one of the main protest sites, the university-dominated Jamia Millia Islamia. Muslims.

“By arbitrarily arresting outspoken activists, the government is trying not only to silence dissent, but also to send a message to supporters that they have free rein to commit abuses against minority communities,” Meenakshi said. Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights, based in New York. Watch.

Supreme Court attorney and outspoken government critic Prashant Bhushan said the indictment was “ridiculous”.

Broadcaster NDTV called the investigation “money laundering”, adding that several members of the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata had made inflammatory speeches hours before the February riots, but had escaped censorship.

The Delhi government and police have defended their handling of the case, saying those involved in the riots will be punished regardless of their political or religious ties.

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