Sifting Evidence – A review of “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”: Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum

This review has been prepared by a  voluntary  citizens’  collective of academics and activists, anchored by Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum.

The review is based on a PDF of the  ‘book’,  Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, which went viral after the original publishers (Bloomsbury India) withdrew.  The PDF was widely circulated on social media by the book’s supporters, who believed its message must be spread far and wide. At the virtual book launch, BJP leader and Chief Guest, Kapil Mishra, tweeted “The book is public now”.

The review, titled Sifting Evidence, given below, is largely in tabular form, which makes for a quick read.

The book Delhi Riots 2020 was originally a fact-finding report by a group called GIA (Group of Intellectuals and Academicians), which was submitted to the Home Ministry on March 11th, 2020.  A version of it was accepted for publication by Bloomsbury India.  BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose hate speeches allegedly triggered the riots in February 2020, was a guest of honour at the book launch event held on August 22, 2020. On the day of the launch, Bloomsbury India decided to withdraw publication.

The authors claimed their freedom of expression was violated. But the facts are clear – there was no call to ban the Delhi Riots 2020 book. Established and reputable publishers get their reputation because they fact-check, and stay away from publishing material that may amount to libel. Other publishers may not care, and therefore do not achieve that reputation.

[See also this earlier post on Kafila as to why Bloomsbury withdrawing from publishing Delhi Riots 2020  is not a violation of freedom of expression, but an act of belated wisdom and professional ethics. Bloomsbury evidently belatedly recognized that legal proceedings were inevitable, due to absence of fact checking before accepting the manuscript for publication.

Another useful reference  – Quint has earlier published Factual Errors in ‘Delhi Riots 2020’]

What this detailed review “Sifting Evidence”, records, is false claims, factual inaccuracies, and distorted/selective presentations. The reviewers have simply used the yardstick of evidence and fact, or lack thereof. There are many statements in this book that amount to libel.

A reputed publisher like Bloomsbury must answer how this material, including defamatory content, made it through their fact-checks from manuscript stage to final proofs.

The review also examines parallels between the book and some charge-sheets filed by the Delhi Police in the riots cases, and reveals evidence of a conspiracy – because a book like this seems to be providing the template that Delhi Police is following.

This is by no means an exhaustive review, but perhaps enough to allow a reader to judge the book’s relationship to fact, and its deeply worrying relationship to the narrative being created by the Delhi Police.



This review provides an illustrative glimpse of the contents of the book Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story ( by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar, Prerna Malhotra)

This review has been done in the national interest by a group of citizens anchored by Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum

September 18, 2020 


  1. Introduction I & II: An Overview of the Book’s Arguments

& The Real Conspiracy _________________________________________  2


  1. Statements and Evidence: Foreword, Preface and

Introduction ___________________________________________________  13


  1. Statements and Evidence: Chapter 2 (On Urban Naxalism

and Jihadism) _________________________________________________  17


  1. Statements and Evidence: Chapter 3 (On CAA as

Background to the Delhi Riots) _________________________________   22


  1. Statements and Evidence: Chapter 4 (On Violence in

Universities) ___________________________________________________   27


  1. Statements and Evidence: Chapter 5 (Shaheen Bagh) ___________ 34


  1. Statements and Evidence: Chapter 6 (Delhi Riots) _______________ 42



 On March 11th, 2020, a group called GIA (Group of Intellectuals and Academicians) submitted a fact-finding report on the Delhi riots to the Home Ministry. The group then announced that a book Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story, based on this report would be launched on August 22, 2020.  The guests of honour at the launch event included Kapil Mishra, a Delhi BJP leader, who became known for his hate speeches between December 2019 and February 2020, in the run up to the Delhi Assembly election. On December 21st, 2019 he led his supporters in chanting – ‘Desh ke ghaddaron ko. Goli maaro saalon ko’ (The traitors to the nation. Shoot the bastards). On February 23, 2020, he stood in North East Delhi, along with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, and threatened that his supporters would ‘take matters into their own hands’ if the CAA protesters were not cleared up. This speech is widely alleged to have triggered the subsequent violence that wracked North East Delhi between 23 and 26 February 2020. Petitions are pending in the courts asking for FIRs and legal action against him for inciting the Delhi violence, which took 53 lives (40 Muslims and 13 Hindus) and devastated many more.

On the day of the book launch, Bloomsbury India, the publisher, pulled out. We do not know exactly why, but presumably because many people objected to the idea of such a book and its release by Kapil Mishra. The authors subsequently claimed that their freedom of expression was being curtailed. It is noteworthy here that the lead author, advocate Monika Arora, was instrumental in getting noted Sanskritist Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus, withdrawn from the Indian market in 2014. One of the other authors, Prerna Malhotra, belongs to the National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF) which has frequently lobbied to remove material from the social science syllabi of Delhi University, including well known linguist AK Ramanujan’s Three Hundred Ramayanas.

But the facts on this matter are clear – there was no call to ban the Delhi Riots 2020 book. Established and reputable publishers get their reputation because they fact-check, and stay away from publishing material that may amount to libel. Other publishers may not care, and therefore do not achieve that reputation. One publisher, Garuda Press, has now said it intends to publish this book.

In the meantime, a PDF of the Bloomsbury book began to be circulated widely, on WhatsApp, Twitter and email, by supporters of the book, who believed that its message must be spread far and wide.   During a programme on NDTV telecast on 26 August 2020, one of the authors questioned the anchor’s authority asking if he had read the book, and said that reports critical of the book were coming from ‘fake portals.’ We conclude that the authors wanted people to have an informed opinion based on their close reading of the book.

This is by no means an exhaustive review, but perhaps enough to allow a reader to judge the book’s relationship to fact. It is largely in tabular form, which makes for a quick read. In chapters three and four however, the narrative presented was at odds with the events as described in numerous testimonies and by the media, so we have pointed the reader to other evidence-based reports. The conclusion chapter repeats things already said, so it did not warrant a repeat review.


Rewriting the narrative

 This book is not about the Delhi riots. This book is about re-casting a people’s movement for equal citizenship and against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), into something criminal. In the book the ‘facts’ of the Delhi violence form only one chapter (Chapter 6).

The passing of the CAA led to one of the largest democratic rights movements in independent India, across class, religious communities and regions. Its closest contemporary equivalent is probably the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Like the BLM, the movement against the CAA, with full participation of democratic and civil rights actors, was led by those most directly affected, by Muslims, and especially by Muslim women. Scores of university students, women and men, also played a leadership role.   The police attack on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) who were peacefully protesting against the CAA and the police vandalisation of the Jamia library had led to a wave of sympathetic protests in colleges and universities across the country, starting with Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

In order to delegitimise the movement against the CAA, it had to be criminalised. The Delhi riots themselves were the first step – to introduce violence and abruptly end a peaceful people’s movement. The second step was to link this violence to the movement against CAA, as cause and effect. The third step was to link all Muslim protestors, those associated with civil rights and democratic movements, and ordinary university students critical of government policies, and paint them all as actors in a synchronized conspiracy to destabilise the country.


Urban-Naxal-Jihadi conspiracy to destroy India under garb of movement against CAA

According to this book:  There was a giant criminal conspiracy to create extreme violence and destroy the Indian state. The conspiracy was likely foreign funded, probably by international, Islamist organizations; possibly the ISIS.  The entire movement against the CAA-NRC-NPR in India was the front. The lakhs of protestors, including youth, students and women of all ages were part of the conspiracy; sometimes described as gullible and brain-washed, and other times as co-conspirators who were exceptionally violent. The conspirators were ‘Urban Naxals’ or Jihadi, and most times both at once. The book does not explain why Naxals were funded by Islamists, despite their known differences.

The phrase Urban-Naxal-Jihadi is thrown about a lot in this book. Each throw aims to stick to a range of actors, in the belief that stickability is a foregone conclusion; that it is self-evident and self-explanatory; and requires neither logic nor evidence.

It is fair to say that in this book, all people who express liberal views and take public positions against the ruling BJP are Urban-Naxal. All Muslims – men, women and children – are Jihadi. The tale takes a broad sweep, invokes images of ISIS, Syria and Egypt, and quotes from purported Maoist pamphlets about guerrilla warfare.

In a 190-page book about the Delhi riots, the approximate number of times these words/phrases appear (not counting titles and references) is as follows:

Urban-Naxal – 45

Jihadi – 42

Urban-Naxal-Jihadi (occurring in close combination) – 28

Syria – 13

ISIS – 24

PFI – 17

Left -46

International (media/internationalising the issue): 16

This is more times than the names of any of the victims of this tragedy. This is more times than the word ‘victim’ itself which appears only some 16 times.

According to this book, conspirators – interchangeably Urban, Naxal and Jihadi – planted highly skilled sharp-shooters, possibly trained in Syria or Egypt, on high rise buildings in North East Delhi to kill. Therefore, the authors demand that all high-rise buildings in all of Northeast Delhi must be subjected to a forensic audit. Many Islamic rioters, the book suggests, had combat training and used ‘bunkers.’ The conspirators also trained women to hide swords under their burqas. However, it does not indicate a possible location for this burqa/sword training. Delhi Police had no choice but to crush this Islamist-Naxal conspiracy, which is also taking root in our most reputed universities. Therefore, this books also calls on “… vice chancellors of DU, JMI, JNU and all other universities to take an audit of the use of their campuses to engineer wider disturbances in the city in the eight weeks leading up to the riots.”  This then, is the big picture of the Delhi riots in this book.

This narrative may not meet many readers’ standards of credibility, but it claims to be the ‘untold story’ of the Delhi riots.


 We did, however, find evidence, which forces us to take this book very seriously. For alongside this book, we also read the charge-sheets being filed by the Delhi Police in the riot cases (refer – Introduction II) We came to the inescapable conclusion that there is indeed a conspiracy. And this book is part of it.

The theories in this book have been replicated down to details in the charge-sheets being filed by the Delhi Police in the Delhi riots cases. These criminal cases have already incarcerated scores of people who participated in the movement against the CAA. For example, Chapter 6 about the first day of violence in the Seelampur-Jaffrabad area, contains a story that mirrors the version in the police charge-sheet on the Jaffrabad violence (FIR 50/20). We scanned several other charge-sheets and found the same story being repeated. Each charge-sheet begins its narrative with the movement against the CAA, it then goes on to talk about conspiracy, pre-planning, networks, and so on, with no evidence whatsoever.  Yet, people are in jail today, many under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), an anti-terror law that makes bail near impossible. Many more live with the threat of imprisonment tomorrow.

This book is part of a carefully crafted template for the police to follow and embellish. Unrelated actors and actions are now being woven by the police into a complex conspiratorial web out of thin air. The grand foundational idea of the rule of law and sanctity of investigative procedures, on which hinges the liberty of each individual in any civilized society, is reduced to tawdry copy-paste.

We place the contents of this book in the court of public opinion.


                                                   THE REAL CONSPIRACY


 As this scrutiny will demonstrate, the narrative being created by books like Delhi Riots 2020, and the nuances of police charge-sheets and FIRs closely mirror each other, suggesting a meeting of minds at many levels, including between Delhi Police and the authors of this book.

It is otherwise inexplicable that the Delhi Police, charged with investigating riots and murders, in legal documents expresses retrograde views on ‘women protestors as shields’, articulates a position on a controversial law (the CAA), and seems obsessed with media projections and the issue of sullying the ‘international image’. The latter may well be political concerns, but is NOT the concern of a service charged with law enforcement and honest investigation of crimes.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch filed a ‘conspiracy’ case (FIR 59/20) on March 6, 2020, as shown below as # 8, which is based solely on information from a ‘special informant’.*

The fact-finding report, on which this book is based, was submitted to the Home Ministry on March 11, 2020 – just five days apart. Between these two seemingly separate yet well-coordinated written words, there is evidence of a deliberate plan to create an elaborate narrative to somehow justify entrapping democratic protestors of the movement against CAA.

*The ‘conspiracy’ case is being investigated by the Special Cell, which has invoked the stringent anti-terror law UAPA against several activists. They now languish in prison, without bail. Others fear imminent arrest.

 # 1 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020

  • Muslims were radicalised over more than two months at these anti-CAA protest sites. (p. xii)
  • Hate speeches and sustained political mobilisation around CAA in the anti-CAA dharna sites had already created a situation of public violence on the streets since December 2019. (p.7)
  • A pack of lies had been spread around and a heavy dose of fear-mongering was inflicted on a majority of Muslims in the country. (p. 32)
  • Hundreds of hate speeches at anti-CAA protests have added to the hatred building up during these months. (p. 38)

Screenshot from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

Ratan Lal charge-sheet (FIR 60/2020), Dayalpur police station

# 2 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020 

  • Anti-CAA, anti-NRC, anti- NPR protests eventually became a protest against all other religions of the country, anti-police, anti-government and anti-India. (p.38)
  • Their allied organisations and individuals ranging from artists to poets used the anti-CAA protest sites to drum up anti-government, anti-Hindu hysteria. (p.58)

Screenshot from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

(Translation: From the Seelampur protest stage the sitting protestors were instigated and agitated by many people… who strongly spoke things anti-government and anti-religion, and explained CAA in false terms to fill poison in the hearts of people.)

Jaffrabad Charge-Sheet (FIR 50/2020) Jaffrabad police station

# 3 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020 

  • … at Shaheen Bagh, women and children came on the forefront while the men made all the background preparations for rioting. (p.8)
  • Muslim women leading from the front have been a part of the strategy. (p.37)
  • The police did not want to fire as a majority of the rioters were women and children. (p.90)

 Screenshots from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

Ratan Lal charge-sheet (FIR 60/2020), Dayalpur police station

# 4 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020 

  • As the CAA became a law on 12 December 2019 after the approval of the president, voices against it started coming from many corners. Beginning 15 December 2019, anti-CAA protests began across campuses in the capital, from JMI to JNU and others. Before long, the protests appeared pan- India. Muslims were brought at the forefront as they were made to believe that it was a fight for their survival. (p.36)

Screenshot from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

(Translation: After the CAA was passed on December 11, 2019, by the Indian Parliament and His Excellency The President, in a constitutional manner, people of one particular religious community (the Muslim community) in a well-organised manner, in different parts all over the country, slowly started protest demonstrations, where people were explained the provisions of this law in particular ways, to agitate the people of this particular religious community that this law is against them.)

Jaffrabad Charge-Sheet (FIR 50/2020) Jaffrabad police station

# 5 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020

  • The protests which began with photos of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar and the unfurling of the Tricolour sadly ended with the Tricolour being used in making petrol bombs and torching shops and houses. (p. 39)
  • Most of the anti-CAA protests sites in Delhi had a format that was copied extensively from the Shaheen Bagh model… There were posters of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Most of the posters and other media emerging from the protest sites were hinged on constitutionalism. There was a widespread display of the Indian national flag. (p. 68)

Screenshot from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

Ratan Lal charge-sheet (FIR 60/2020), Dayalpur police station

# 6 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020

  •  Anxiety and fear among the locals: Most protest sites relayed a constant stream of high-decibel sloganeering continuously for the eight weeks leading up to the riots, leading to anxiety and fear amongst the local population. (p.100)
  • Locals told us that protest sites across the road were a daily inconvenience. Loud slogans on loudspeakers at odd hours, sometimes beginning right from the morning or sometimes starting in the evening and continuing well into the night, caused daily disruption in the lives of residents. (p.68)

Screenshot from a Delhi Police charge-sheet


Ankit Sharma charge-sheet (FIR 65/2020), Dayalpur Police station

# 7 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020

  • Some locals, resenting the disturbance and road blockage, also started protesting near Maujpur Chowk. (p.83)
  • Hindus mobilised primarily due to anxieties generated by the total blockage of Jaffrabad Metro Station by the Muslim women on 23 February. (p.86)

Screenshots from a Delhi Police charge-sheet

(Translation: The other community, inconvenienced by the road blocks, to get them opened came forward…)

(Translation: So the plan of the protest and the conspirators succeeded, because of which, tired of the blockage, people of the other community on Feb 23, 2020 raised their voice against this dharma … and at around 3 pm asked for the road to be open and gathered around 800 meters from the protest site near Maujpur Metro… )

Jaffrabad Charge-Sheet (FIR 50/2020) Jaffrabad police station

# 8 Lines from Delhi Riots 2020

  • …the timing of the riots was crucial as well, with the president of the United States, Donald Trump on a visit to India at the time. The likely motive was to internationalise the issue of Muslim unrest when the international media was all around and build a fake narrative against the current Indian government. (p.8)
  • The possible plan was to attract international scrutiny during the visit of the president of USA, Donald Trump, to India towards the end of February. (p. 74)
  • The timing was possibly inspired by the high media visibility and the possibility of internationalising the issue as President Trump was scheduled to visit India in the last week of February. (p. 77)

 Screenshots from several Delhi Police charge-sheets & FIR 59/20

 Ratan Lal charge-sheet (FIR 60/2020), Dayalpur police station

 (Translation: Dear Sir, My request is this that I Arvind Kumar, No D-5708 am deployed at Crime Branch. One of my special informants has given information that the riots which took place in Delhi on February 23,24,25, 2020 were a pre-planned conspiracy…During American President Donald Trump’s proposed India visit on February 24/25 2020, they asked that people come out on public streets and block roads, so that during Trump’s visit they could spread propaganda at an international level that minorities are being oppressed/persecuted in India.)

FIR 59/2020. Crime Branch*

(* This is the main ‘conspiracy’ case being investigated by the Special Cell)

(Translation: … on Feb 24/25/2020 the American President Donald Trump was visiting India and keeping that in mind these conspirators had planned to throw Delhi into the fire of riots and they planned it all. So that at the international level India’s image could be spoiled and the international media would make the CAA a big issue.)

Jaffrabad Charge-Sheet (FIR 50/2020) Jaffrabad police station

STATEMENTS & EVIDENCE                       















Foreword by PC Dogra, former DGP

p. viii

“I would like to quote Pandit Nehru, who famously said, ‘By education I am an English man, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim and Hindu only by accident of birth.” False claim


Nehru never made such a statement
Foreword p. ix “Professor Nandini Sundar, a well-known protagonist of break India, had told Karan Thapar in an interview on now-defunct Tiranga TV channel that she stood for the breaking of India into smaller independent states premised on ethnicity and religion.” False claim


No such interview was ever given and no such views expressed

p. xi

“…the true story of the agony faced by the 53 victims who lost their lives in this senseless violence.” False claim It cannot be the ‘true story’ if it does not state up front that 40 of the 53 killed were Muslims; and throughout the book blames Muslims, Muslim women, Muslim children and Muslim rioters, for these killings

p. xii

“It was in Shaheen Bagh that Aum and the Swastika, holy to all Indic faiths, were desecrated.” False claim No desecration of any religious symbols at Shaheen Bagh. No evidence given.

A poster reproduced on p. 68 of the book is a Nazi symbol not the Hindu swastika. An attempt to deliberately mislead the public was pointed out by many media outlets, including here:


p. xiii

“… Communal fault lines were created between neighbours by ideologically vested interests comprising Urban Naxals and Jihadi elements who had an agenda to implement—to systematically conflagrate areas with mixed populations of Hindus and Muslims and take these areas from dharna to danga.” False claim


No evidence, here or later, for these sweeping assertions

p. 4

“…the violence which has happened in North East Delhi on 23–25 February 2020 is unprecedented in the rioting history of this country and cannot be just classified as a riot. It is a pre-planned systematic conspiracy, complete urban warfare, the first episode of its kind in India, engineered by radical Muslims and Urban Maoists in tandem.” False claim


No evidence of this conspiracy theory, urban warfare, radical Muslims, and Urban Maoists etc.

p. 4

“It was pre-planned warfare in which the Popular Front of India (PFI) seems to have played a pivotal role, with support of left-wing extremist (LWE) organisations. Islamic radicals have been at the forefront in protests and rioting whereas the Leftist role has been subtle and tactical.” False claim


No evidence for huge generalized claims

“Seems to have” is not evidence.


p. 5

“The CAA had nothing to do with the Muslims of India.” False claim Islam is the only religion which is not mentioned in the CAA. The Home Minister has on record made the ‘chronology’ clear that first CAA will come, then NRC. This directly threatens and impacts Muslims in India.

p. 5

“This technique of the Left to use Muslims as their striking arm is not new though and is something they have been doing since the 1940s.” False claim Sweeping assertion without any evidence, designed to inflame

pp 5-6

“Women and children were used to feed venom against Hindus, the government, the security forces and the country at large.” False claim In a democracy, citizens voices against a law or policy is not ‘venom. ‘Thus, no venom was expressed against anyone or any institution.

No expression of any anti-Hindu or anti-country sentiments in the protests. No evidence provided.

There were many Hindu participants.


p. 6

“…the funding links between the protests and the riots have been established to the PFI.” False claim No evidence for these links

p. 6

“The Shaheen Bagh Model, from protest to rioting, is a complete experiment. Incidents that took place from 15 December 2019 to 25 February 2020 are strategic phases of one plan.” False claim The Shaheen Bagh protest was organic, and led by local women.

They repeatedly asked to meet the Home Minister and others to have their demands met.


p. 6

“While the media and police focused on the street protests, rioting structures were being identified and created in high-rise buildings in the other part of Delhi.” False claim No evidence given of these ‘high rise’ claims.

p. 7

“North East Delhi’s Rajdhani Public School in Shiv Vihar, Khajuri Khas was used by Muslim rioters as a base for storing weaponry and launching petrol and acid bombs, and bricks and stones through catapults. Similarly, the house of Tahir Hussain, an Aam Admi Party (AAP) councillor which is a huge building was used as a bunker and launch pad.” Unsubstantiated Given facts brought out by independent media, this is under investigation:

No evidence provided of army-like ‘bunker’ or ‘launch pad’



“There are possibilities that PFI or ISI might have provided the lists of targeted individuals as most of the targets of Islamic mobs snipers were individuals who either belonged to security forces—police, intelligence agencies or persons belonging to Hindu organisations.” False claim Most of those killed or injured were ordinary Muslim citizens.


“Trained professional shooters were present in these buildings demarcated as bases to launch attacks. They could accurately shoot from a distance of around 300 metres, killing targets by aiming for the head or neck.” False claim No evidence they were trained shooters.

No evidence these were ‘demarcated bases.’

No evidence they could accurately shoot.

No evidence they could shoot at 300 meters aiming at head or neck.

A majority of the Delhi Riots victims did not die or sustain injuries from neck or head bullet wounds.



“The use of women as shields is a typical Leftist technique adopted over the years in the Left-dominated universities and at most of the protests.” False claim No evidence.

Historically, many more men than women are present at protests in most universities.

Women did lead the way during anti-CAA protests, but no evidence they were either left-dominated, or ‘shields.’

Authors seem patriarchal.

Assume women can never lead protests.



“In all other previous protests and riots involving the Muslim community, women were sent to safer places while the men were part of the action.” False claim ‘Protests’ and ‘Riots’ are used interchangeably by authors; they are two distinct  things. The first is legal, the second is a crime.

‘Action’ is not an appropriate way to describe riots.

Women protestors are not sheep to be ‘sent.’


p. 8

“However, at Shaheen Bagh, women and children came on the forefront while the men made all the background preparations for rioting.” False claim No evidence of this unique gender division of labour.

                                       STATEMENTS AND EVIDENCE

This chapter follows a model. It cites random passages on Naxalism or Jihad, and then finger points at some contemporary event or persons, without evidence or link and says things like – “this is chillingly familiar to that”, or “this has not remained just words,” or, “it can be seen.” We cite three examples below.

Example 1:

The book on page 13 cites a passage about urban cadres and leadership from a purportedly Maoist document, and says the following, in this exact order:

Sentence 1: The above excerpt from the ‘Strategy and Tactics’ document created by the CPI (Maoist) party clearly details the need for recruits to the ‘Urban Naxal cause.’

Sentence 2: And this has not remained just words.

Sentence 3: The year 2015–2016 kept India occupied with shocking revelations on the campuses of renowned education institutes like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Hyderabad Central University, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, JNU, Osmania University, Jadavpur University and DU. JNU reverberated with slogans that championed the breaking of the Indian nation.

The reader is not told what these “shocking revelations” are or what relationship Sentence 3 has to Sentence 1. There is no evidence of anyone ‘championing breaking of the Indian nation.’

Example 2: (page 13)

Sentence 1: One of the strategies outlined in an allied document called the ‘Urban Perspective’ is to look into possible methods of exploiting ghettos— ‘a slum or locality inhabited mostly or completely by one community’—by dividing the communities on various emotive issues and by triggering violence/riots.

Sentence 2: The aim, therefore, is to make firm entries into the ghettos to organise communities to carry forward the movement, among others.

Sentence 3: This is chillingly similar to the work carried out by Urban Naxals in Muslim-majority areas before the riots happened in North East Delhi.

Again, there is no evidence for any conclusion, barring the suggestive phrase “chillingly similar to.”

Example 3:

The chapter opens with a section titled: Urban Naxalism: Theory and Practice.

This is immediately followed by a section titled: Jihadism: Theory and Organisations.

This is  followed by a section, in which they come together, titled: The Urban Naxal–Jihadi Link and the Delhi Riots, with the following opening sentence: “The Urban Naxal–Jihadi link in the Delhi riots can be seen in the leaders and cadre of the aforementioned outfits who were actively present at anti-CAA protest sites.”

There is no explanation or evidence for this link between two entirely disparate ideologies. The authors appear to have strung three words together, separated by a hyphen, pointed vaguely at some people, and claim that the link therefore, “can be seen in.”

 A sample of the statements in this chapter suffice to give the reader an idea of its contents 















p. 11 “Delhi riots show clear indications that the Urban Naxal–Jihadi model has been applied in North East Delhi to create communal violence.” False claim


No evidence, in this book or elsewhere, of any such Urban Naxal-Jihadi model, let alone applied to Delhi riots.

Everything that follows from this inference is therefore also suspect.

p. 13 “The year 2015–2016 kept India occupied with shocking revelations on the campuses of renowned education institutes like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Hyderabad Central University, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, JNU, Osmania University, Jadavpur University and DU.” False claim


Intended to make all student protest appear a crime.

No mention or source of what these ‘shocking revelations’ were.

p.13 “JNU reverberated with slogans that championed the breaking of the Indian nation.” False claim




Not proved even 4 years later.

p. 14 “From the year 2015 onwards, the country watched aghast as these sanctuaries of education turned into theatres of secession.” False No evidence provided of universities turning into ‘theatres of secession.’

Enough evidence of serious scholarship and teaching in each of these universities.

JNU has consistently been at the top in NIRF rankings and Jamia Millia Islamia University entered the top 10 in 2020.


p.15 Mention of FIR against Nandini Sundar and ors. Libel


Their names were dropped from the FIR a year before this book was written. The National Human Rights Commission in 2019, compensated each of those falsely accused Rs. 1 lakh for having suffered the burden of these false accusations.
pp. 16-17 “The ideas of these leaders (of the Khilafat movement) have great traction amongst the Islamic youth who were at the forefront in Shaheen Bagh and other movements that led to the Delhi riots.” False claim


No evidence provided for claim that youth in Shaheen Bagh were inspired by the Khilafat movement.
p. 23 “One of the most enduring images of the campus violence in Delhi’s JMI on 15 December 2019 was of the media-promoted ‘Sheroes’. These were Ladeeda Sakhaloon and Ayesha Renna N, both students of the university.” Libel These young women were applauded for protecting a fellow student from being beaten.

Not for causing ‘campus violence.’

p.23 “However, further research revealed that both girls are intricately related to the jihadi network in Kerala.” False claim



No evidence for labelling them as Jihadis.
p. 24 “The SIO was founded as the student wing of JeI Hind after the government banned SIMI because of their terror activities in India.” False


SIO was founded in 1982 while SIMI was banned in 2001. So SIO could not have been founded as a replacement for SIMI.

Disputed facts about the ban on SIMI.

pp. 24-25 “Who is Mahdani? Probably the most powerful person in Kerala, he has been accused of two major terror attacks in India.” False

Deliberately misleading

No evidence of ‘most powerful person in Kerala.’

Abdul Nasser Mahdani was acquitted of all charges in the 1998 Coimbatore bomb case, and in the 2008 Bangalore blasts, the charges against him are still to be proved.

p. 25 After a long paragraph on Mahdani (which has false content, as stated above), the paragraph that immediately follows is this:

“A number of students have been arrested or charge-sheeted in connection with the Delhi riots, including Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, Devangna Kalita and Natasha Narwal. Recently, 35-year-old Meeran Haider, a member of the youth wing of Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and student of JMI has been arrested for planning the riots.”

Deliberately misleading No evidence to suggest links to Mahdani.

Citing arrest of students from Jamia, JNU and DU by the police does not mean they are guilty of anything. The ‘investigation’ is on-going.


p. 25 This is immediately followed by this:

“The Urban Naxal connection is seen from the activation of networks in JNU, JMI and DU during the months leading to the riots.”

False claim


The  Shaheen Bagh protest was constitutional, secular and open.

No evidence of ‘Urban Naxal-Jihad’ backing.

p. 25 “The Delhi riots clearly mirror Urban–Naxal Jihadi theories of revolution and jihad as exemplified and detailed in the literature emerging from these organisations.” False claim


‘Mirror’, ‘theories’ and ‘literature’ are not evidence from a purported fact-finding report.
p. 26 “Much of the empirical data about the role of such organisations in the riots is also in the public domain in the form of videos, photographs and speeches of the ultra-Left and jihadi cadre present in North East Delhi in the months preceding the riots.” False No citation of any ‘empirical data’.
p. 26 “More research would be needed to analyse this data and strengthen the thesis in this chapter.” Irrelevant to Delhi riots This is purportedly a fact-finding report.

Not a space for an imaginary thesis, to be researched.

pp. 25-26 “Much research is needed on the networks that operated from front organisations in public universities and institutions of repute in Delhi.” Irrelevant to Delhi riots


Dangerous. Suggesting a witch-hunt on university campuses, and other institutions.



  The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 

The passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 led to one of the largest democratic rights movements in independent India. For the first time in Indian history, the CAA makes religion a factor in citizenship. By fast tracking citizenship for persecuted non-Muslims from three neighboring Muslim countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh) (and leaving out countries like Sri Lanka or Myanmar which also have a history of persecution), the CAA singles out Muslims. It is assumed that Muslims are only perpetrators and never victims of persecution. For instance, if persecution was the issue, Ahmadis and Shia Hazaras should also be given refuge and citizenship in India. Coupled with a proposed nation-wide National Register of Citizens which puts the onus of proving citizenship on the individual rather than the state, and the previous example of the Assam NRC which excluded 19 lakh citizens, the government created widespread fear that millions would be disenfranchised. This concern affected not just Muslims, but also women and poor people who struggle to provide documentation.

The contemporary equivalent of the anti-CAA protests is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. As in BLM, the movement against the CAA was led by Muslims, particularly women, but lakhs of people of all faiths and denominations across India participated, especially students. All of them believed that the act is a blow to the foundational principles of India. The protests were organic and democratic.

Chapter 3 of the book is devoted entirely to sullying and demeaning that movement. The ‘arguments’ are summarized in these three passages below:

“The idea that there are ‘two nations’ on this land; one the Islamic and the other non-Islamic is an alien idea that dominated the circumstances leading up to the Partition. The same was eerily similar to what the country witnessed around the anti-CAA agitations.”  (p. 30)

“Protests are perfectly acceptable in a democracy if there is a genuine reason for them, are harmless and within the constitutional limits. However, that is not the case with the anti-CAA protests, as they have neither been based on genuine reasons nor have they been harmless. Fostering militaristic aggression to fill the minds of a section of the society with hatred can lead to no positive outcome.” (p. 31)

“The anti-CAA protesters did not have verifiable and sustainable facts and arguments in their favour. A pack of lies had been spread around and a heavy dose of fear-mongering was inflicted on a majority of Muslims in the country.” (p. 32)

We make no detailed comment on these strange statements, save to say that no people’s movement in global history has risen because the people were stupid, or were ‘inflicted’ by fear and believed some lies. Further, protesting against CAA is protesting against a renewed partition of the country on the basis of religion, hardly promoting partition.

The constitutionality of the act is pending in the Supreme Court. A range of experts have written and spoken about the CAA. Some of these are given here:

  • Faizan Mustafa legal web series (Faizan Mustafa is Vice Chancellor of NALSAR and a reputed jurist)

  • Elizabeth Sheshadri, CAA and the Devaluation of Secular India. The Hindu Centre, 12 February 2020 (Elizabeth Sheshadri is a practicing lawyer based in Chennai).

  • Economic Times, Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019: What is it and why is it seen as a problem. 31 December 2019

  • BBC, Citizenship Amendment Bill: India’s New Anti-Muslim Law Explained. BBC 11 December 2019

A small sample of the statements in this chapter suffice to give the reader an idea of its contents
















pp. 36-37 “The imprint of the Left has been clearly visible from the way the anti-CAA protests have been held.

Historically, the Left in the country has always used Islamic fundamentalism as its striking arm. In the 1940s, the Communists had made some cadres join Muslim League who essentially fuelled the two-nation theory and led effectively to Partition.”

False claim


No evidence of ‘clearly visible imprint’ of any group.

No source cited for this history/fiction about ‘striking arm’ and ‘Communist cadres leading to Partition.’

p. 37 “Coming back to the anti-CAA protests, it has become clear that they have been coordinated by Muslim fundamentalists and ultra-Left organisations.

Muslim women leading from the front have been a part of the strategy. Terms such as dadi and nani, given to the old women sitting at the iconic Shaheen Bagh dharna, are a part of the tactics to further their propaganda.”

False claim


No evidence.

Dadi and Nani i.e. paternal and maternal grandmothers, are terms of endearment and respect for elder women in traditional Indian culture, not some ‘tactic’.

Deeply offensive to dismiss them as propagandist ‘old women.’

p.37 “Islamic religious calls and Hindu phobic slogans have been spoken under the garb of opposing CAA.”


False claim


No evidence.

Deliberately maligning a people’s movement.

Shaheen Bagh and other anti-CAA protests were secular, inclusive, and primarily invoked the Constitution of India.

p. 37 “Secessionist slogans have been amply used, like Bharat Mata se azadi’ (Freedom from India), ‘Kashmir ki azadi’ (Freedom for Kashmir), ‘Jinnah wali azadi’ (The Jinnah type of freedom).”


False claim


No evidence.

See above.

Deliberately maligning a people’s movement.

p.38 “Hundreds of hate speeches at anti-CAA protests have added to the hatred building up during these months.” False claim


No evidence given of any ‘hate speech.’

No evidence given of “hundreds” of such speeches.

Deliberately maligning a people’s movement.

p. 38 “Meanwhile, the ecosystem of Left-liberals in media and academia has tried to build a fake narrative in the international media that the CAA is an anti-Muslim law and the present union government is anti-Muslim.” False claim


No evidence of any fake narrative.
p. 38 “Efforts were aimed at making it look like a secular affair but ultimately, hatred fed through protests led to communal violence and rioting. Anti-CAA, anti-NRC, anti- NPR protests eventually became a protest against all other religions of the country, anti-police, anti-government and anti-India.”



False claim


Outright falsehood.

No evidence.

A wild & motivated story, to malign a secular people’s movement.

Has no place in a ‘fact-finding’ report.

Reiterating points below about the nature of the protests (already stated in Chapter 5):

In Shaheen Bagh multi faith prayers were held. Havans and bhajans were held more than once. Holi was celebrated. There was also a programme commemorating exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. Christians and Sikh prayers were also held regularly.

“People say that Shaheen Bagh is a site just for Muslims …To them, I want to say that this mindset needs to be discarded. This is for all Indians. Everyone did a ‘havan’, read the Quran, read Sikh teaching; everyone was present for all.”

Sant Yuvraj, Hindu priest

p.39 “Heavy doses of extreme Islamic fundamentalism during these months have poisoned some Muslim minds to the extent

the protests which began with the chanting of the Preamble to the Constitution have culminated in the killings of poor people belonging to scheduled communities.”

“ ‘Samvidhan bachao, desh bachao’ (Save the Constitution, save the country) protests have culminated in the mob lynching of Vinod Kashyap, a scheduled caste person, and the shooting of Dinesh Khatik, another scheduled caste person, by rioters in North East Delhi on 24 February 2020.”

False claim

Deliberate misinformation to spread hate

No evidence of ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ in movement.

No link between constitutional slogans and the death of these two persons.

p. 39 “Sharpshooting from high-rise buildings (reminiscent of happenings in Egypt and Syria) in the neighbourhood and the brutal killing of IB officer Ankit Sharma are the unfortunate fallout of a coordinated strategy to politicise a government policy. The protests which began with photos of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar and the unfurling of the Tricolour sadly ended with the Tricolour being used in making petrol bombs and torching shops and houses.” False claim


No evidence for any claim:

●        Existence of sharpshooters

●        Connection to the anti-CAA protests

●        Tricolour being used to make petrol bombs and torch buildings

Deliberately maligning a people’s movement.



In describing violence in universities as ‘the prelude’ which ultimately concluded in the ‘finale’ of the Delhi riots, the chapter portrays India’s premier universities as dens of an ‘Urban-Naxal-Jihadi conspiracy.’ Art and swearing allegiance to constitutional values is seen as a mask for ‘hatred and polarization.’

Since students have been at the forefront of protest against the BJP regime both in its first term (2014-19) and second term (2019 onwards), this chapter is part of the larger attempt to discredit and silence all critical student and faculty voices.

In particular, this chapter is aimed at whitewashing the police brutality on the Jamia Millia Islamia campus and Aligarh Muslim University campus on 15 December 2019, and suggesting that the outrage that followed in campuses across the country and abroad was unjustified as well as part of some gigantic conspiracy. The students apparently deliberately invited police action, in which some of them lost their eyes and hands, in a “strategy” to “discredit the police.”

The chapter is silent on the violence of the RSS student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on campuses across the country, particularly JNU in January 2020.
















p. 41 “Between these two dates, i.e., 12 December 2019 and 10 January 2020, four public university campuses in India—JMI, DU and JNU in Delhi, and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Aligarh, UP—saw violent protests. Initially centred on the CAA, these protests eventually became sites for mobilisation along a distinct Left–Jihadi ideological pattern.” False claim Students from all four universities protested, but there was no violence on campus, till they were attacked by the police, sometimes along with the ABVP. In JNU, the protest was over fees, and it was the ABVP which carried out a murderous assault on campus on 5th January 2020, injuring students and faculty.

See links below the table for what actually happened

p. 42 “The area member of the legislative assembly (MLA) from AAP, Amanatullah Khan too addressed the protesters in Jamia Nagar less than two kilometres from the gates of JMI. His speeches on that day were extremely provocative. He referred to communal riots since 1947 claiming that Muslim suffered the brunt of the violence. He claimed that had Muslims come on the streets in earlier episodes of communal violence, subsequent episodes would not have happened. He was heard asking the crowd to reflect on the reasons why Muslims who ruled India for a thousand years were now paupers. He further claimed that it was getting difficult for Muslims in India to live, wear their traditional clothes, protect places of worship.” Distorted There is nothing provocative about this speech. Amanatullah Khan was referring to the 2006 Sachar Committee report which brought the inequality facing Muslims to national attention; it showed through empirical data that the community suffered deprivation on all key human development indicators.

It is also a fact that Muslims have suffered the brunt of communal violence since independence as borne out by numerous Commissions of Enquiry, and that Muslims are currently very vulnerable, in the face of lynchings and other kinds of attacks.

p. 42 Description of violence in New Friends Colony on 15 December 2019: “It was a huge crowd and it could not be ascertained whether they were students or outsiders. Some of the rioters had masked their faces” The only true part in this whole narrative – that the perpetrators have not been ascertained. It is also possible that some of the arsonists and rioters were agent provocateurs since till then (from December 10 onwards) the student protests had been peaceful; and students continued to plead for peace afterwards. The police have not investigated this at all.
pp. 44-45 Description of assault on Jamia – which claims that protestors were pelting stones at the police, they ran into the library and forced the police to follow. The police entry into the library was therefore entirely justified, and is supported by CCTV evidence. Grossly distorted The fact-finding report, The Night of the Broken Glass: Testimonies from Jamia Millia Islamia, extensively debunks police claims. The police vandalisation of the library, breaking of CCTV cameras, the attack on a disabled student, as well as the blinding of one student and bullet injuries suffered by students were all totally disproportionate, even if there had been rioting in New Friends Colony, 1.6 km away.  Even ambulances and university security guards, many of whom are ex-servicemen were not spared.

The book is entirely silent on these grievous injuries to students.

p. 46, 54 “More than an hour after the violent protests in the Jamia vicinity ended, AMU students started a protest outside their campus, to show that they stood in solidarity with Jamia ‘students’. The protesters broke the police cordon and the same pattern of stone pelting was followed in AMU too. The police, too, responded, firing tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd.

However, in AMU, contrary to the Jamia incident, the police had entered the campus after it received the request to do so from the university authorities. The police had followed a standard operating procedure in the case. They claimed to have been forced to use mild baton charging to disperse the violent crowd.”


Factually inaccurate The permission by the AMU university authorities appears to have been post facto. The police relied on more than “mild baton charging”. They went into hostels and burst tear gas and also used stun grenades, leading to serious disabling injuries. The book is silent on these grievous injuries to students.

(refer to links at the end of this chapter)

p. 46-48 The reaction to the police brutality in JMI and AMU is described under “The Urban Naxal Organisational Networks and their responses.” False claim


There was justifiable outrage at police brutality on university campuses; this can hardly be criminalized as an ‘urban naxal’ response. Even reputed international media have been described as part of an Urban Naxal Network.
p. 50 “Ironically, a few days later, on 5 January 2020, when violence broke out in the JNU campus, the Delhi police did not enter the premises as it waited for permission from the JNU administration. The same network that questioned the police in the case of Jamia and AMU was now asking the Delhi police that why did it wait for JNU administration’s permission to enter the campus.” Breathtaking for what it glosses over The assault on JNU by ABVP members on 5th January 2020 with the police looking on, and ultimately ushering the violent attackers out was well documented. However, despite WhatsApp evidence, CCTV footage, media footage etc. the police have not arrested any members of the ABVP.
p. 51 The network of Urban Naxalism runs through the judiciary primarily in the form of human rights activism and the civil liberties spectrum. This is in keeping with the larger theory of Urban Naxalism elaborated in previous chapters.

On the legal front, Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaisingh and other advocates filed six petitions in the Supreme Court on 16 December 2019.”


False claim


Accusing the courts and lawyers of being ‘Urban Naxals’ is serious libel. By this standard, any judge who affords relief in matters of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties can be accused of being an ‘Urban Naxal’.
p. 53 “The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has made startling claims that PFI provided Rs120 crore financial support to fund the anti-CAA protests. It has reported that the bank accounts of advocates Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaisingh had direct transfers from the PFI and bank accounts of organisations affiliated to it, though both of them have denied it.”


False claim


For a fact check, refer to:


p. 53 “Some of the slogans which were raised at the protest sites of both the campuses, like ‘Naara e takbeer, Allah hu Akbar’ (The slogan of Allah is greatest) and ‘Tera mera rishta kya, la ilaha illallah’ (What is the relationship between you and me, that of the belief that Allah is the greatest) are part of the Islamic Shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of faith in Allah. Further slogans like ‘Hinduon se azadi’ (Freedom from Hindus), ‘Hindutva se azadi’ (Freedom from Hindutva), etc., had nothing to do with the Constitution or the CAA.”


False claim


No evidence provided of these slogans.

Deliberately trying to conflate ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindutva’ in readers mind; they are not the same.

No evidence that a slogan like ‘Hinduon se azadi’ was raised. It is perfectly justified to say “Hindutva se azadi” in the context of CAA, since it is Hindutva which is driving the CAA agenda

pp. 54-55 “The sequence of events that started at the universities to mobilise and instigate crowds through religious polarisation by playing the minority and the victim cards, and the effort to discredit the police were early moves in a carefully crafted strategy. It unfolded subsequently in the high media visibility and Constitution-spouting phase of the strategy that was seen at the protest sites at Shaheen Bagh and other places that came

up immediately thereafter, and are dealt with in detail in the next chapter. One will see how the strategy changed and shifted to bring in Urban Naxal–Jihadi elements, tried to build a larger constituency using art and other elements, swore allegiance to constitutional values but articulated hatred and polarisation.”


Distorted and false narrative The entire conspiracy is only in the minds of the authors and has no bearing on the actual facts, sequence of events etc.

 In order to understand what really happened on campuses in connection with the protests against CAA, we suggest the following fact-finding reports. In addition, there has been widespread documentation of police attacks in the media.

Police attack on Jamia Millia Islamia in connection with anti-CAA protests  15 December 2019

 Jamia students had been peacefully protesting against the CAA since 10 December 2019. On 15 December afternoon, a group of students began marching to Parliament. At New Friends Colony, there was a police lathi charge, followed by stone pelting (not clear by whom), police firing, and the burning of buses (again not clear by whom). Following this the police raided the Jamia campus 1.6 km away, vandalizing the library, beating students, severely injuring many, including one student who was blinded. Students were frog marched out with their hands above their hands and communal slurs were widely used. Since the lockdown a range of students have been questioned and arrested for their role in the anti-CAA protests.

Unafraid: The Day Young Women took the Battle to the Streets

The Night of the Broken Glass: Testimonies from Jamia Millia Islamia

Delhi Police firing

10 February 2020: 70-80 people suffered violence in an age range of 15-60 years. 30-35 men and 15-17 women were grievously injured, including in their private parts. Some kind of chemical gas was used on protestors and women were specifically sexually targeted.


Police attack on Aligarh Muslim University in connection with anti-CAA protests 15 December 2019

The Aligarh students had been peacefully protesting against the CAA since 10 December 2019. On 15 December, the students were holding a peaceful protest inside the gates of AMU, in solidarity with the Jamia students who had been attacked. The police claim there was stone pelting from inside and they were invited to come in by the Registrar, but this seems like a post-facto event. The police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel chased students into their hostels and elsewhere, firing bullets, stun grenades and tear gas shells. Even ambulances and security guards were not spared and communal slurs were widely used.

“Based on the cases handled by doctors at University Medical college, students have suffered extensive injuries, with many requiring intensive care. Those who were detained have soft tissue damage corresponding to blunt force trauma from the lathis and belts that were used to beat them. Students also have fractures and deep open wounds. As a result of the violence on campus, one student has a skull fracture with brain haemorrhage and associated seizures and nausea. Two students have extensive tissue  damage from stun grenades, with one person having to undergo below wrist amputation.  One student faced severe respiratory issues and irritation to the eyes from the tear gas shot near the gate. He had to be taken to the hospital immediately and was unconscious for more than four hours. Considering the extent of tear gas usage, cases like this, both reported and unreported, are innumerable. Teachers report that on the morning of the 16th, when the campus was expressly being cleaned, they found a cut-off thumb on the road.”

Since the lockdown a range of students have been questioned and arrested for their role in the anti-CAA protests.

Police and ABVP attack on Delhi University students in connection with anti-CAA protests, 16 December 2019

 Delhi University students protesting solidarity with JNU and AMU students were physically attacked by ABVP students on campus with the police looking on or complicit. The protest later shifted to Jantar Mantar. Since the lockdown a range of students have been questioned and arrested for their role in the anti-CAA protests.

ABVP attack on JNU students and faculty, 5 January 2020

 Masked intruders invaded the JNU campus and hostels with big rods, and injured students and faculty. They were later escorted off campus by the police who had stood idly by while the attack was going on. Despite a sting operation in which the ABVP confessed to its involvement, WhatsApp communication and other evidence, none of the ABVP students has been arrested. Since the lockdown a range of students have been questioned and arrested for their role in the anti-CAA protests.


                                                                                                                                    CHAPTER 5: THE INTERLUDE THE SHAHEEN BAGH MODEL
















p. 58 “The first phase of the events could be observed in university campuses at AMU, JMI, JNU and DU on 15 December 2019.”

“Large-scale street rioting by crowds comprising students and local elements led to severe police action.”

False claim There was no rioting.

Students were legitimately protesting.

The police acted brutally and attacked students.

Students were severely injured, inside their campuses, libraries and detained in police stations.

There is both video and written evidence.

p. 58 “Anti- CAA protest sites entered a different phase of activity from the last week of January to the last week of February. This was a phase when these sites all over Delhi were cultivated into sites of division.” False claim No evidence given of planned ‘phases’ of activity as detected by authors. These were organic protests.

Calling them ‘sites of division’ that were ‘cultivated’ is fiction. The authors provide no evidence of such ‘cultivation.’

p. 58 “A well-networked, university-based Urban Naxal–Jihadi network spread out into these areas.” False claim There is no such network; and no evidence is provided here.
p.58 “Their allied organisations and individuals ranging from artists to poets used the anti-CAA protest sites to drum up anti-government, anti-Hindu hysteria.” False claim The ‘allied organizations’ is fiction.

The protests were against the CAA-NRC-NPR, and the government which brought in the law.

No evidence of anyone expressing anti-Hindu sentiment. Many people belonging to the Hindu faith were participants.

p. 58 “This was also the time when anti-CAA election speeches made by leaders of political parties outside Delhi impacted the atmosphere of the Delhi assembly elections.” False claim


It was not anti-CAA speeches outside Delhi, but election speeches inside Delhi by leading BJP figures – Amit Shah, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra using violence in language, tone and tenor, targeting the peacefully protesting citizens of Delhi, which vitiated the atmosphere of Delhi before the Feb 8, 2020 election.

p. 59-60 “Left activist Harsh Mander addressed a crowd at Jamia saying that they had no faith in the Supreme Court as it had not upheld the ideals of secularism in case of recent judgements like Article 370, triple talaq, Ram Janambhoomi, etc. It seems as though courts and the parliament cannot decide these issues. They have to be decided on the streets.” Selective

Deliberately misleading

This is what Harsh Mander said:

“This fight cannot be won in the parliament because our political parties, who declare themselves secular, do not have the moral strength to take up the fight. This fight can also not be won in the Supreme Court because, we have seen in – the case of the NRC, Ayodhya and Kashmir, the Supreme Court has not protected humanism, equality and secularism. We will certainly reach out to the Supreme Court. It is our Supreme Court after all… You are young people – what kind of a country do you want to leave for your children? Where will this decision be made? On the one hand, the decision will be taken on the streets. We are all out on the streets. However, there is one more space, bigger than the streets, where this decision can be taken. What is this space where the solution to this struggle can be found? It is in our hearts – in my heart and your heart.

If they want to respond to us with hatred and we respond likewise with hatred, hatred will only deepen. If there is someone spreading darkness in the country and we say that we will spread more darkness to fight you, then of course darkness will deepen further. If there is darkness, it can be countered only by lighting a lamp. Even in this great tempest, we will light our lamps. That’s how darkness can be defeated. This is why we have only one answer to their hatred, and that answer is love…We have learnt from Gandhi what violence and injustice can do. The answer to injustice is to fight with non-violence (ahimsa).”

For the record: Mr. Mander’s speech does not mention the triple talaq judgement, as claimed by the authors in their loose litany.

p. 61 “Even the children’s rights body, the National Commission or Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took cognisance of the matter and issued an order to the district magistrate of the area to identify the children and send them for counselling.” Selective

Deliberately misleading

NCPCR was admonished in a detailed report by experts, including professors Poonam Batra, Jyoti Dalal, Monica Gupta, psychologist and psychotherapist Shobna Sonpar and research scholar Chetan Anand, who visited and interacted with the children.

The report of experts was endorsed by Shanta Sinha, the first NCPCR chairperson, and Amit Sen, Senior Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, among others.

NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo refused to divulge the complainant.

p. 61 “Videos and interviews also showed that the protesting women knew nothing about the CAA or the NRC.” False claim No evidence for this claim

On the contrary many videos and interviews show that the women knew about the CAA and NRC.

p. 61 “No effort was made to educate them as to what the law was about and who it was for.” False claim Discussions about the CAA-NRC were on-going at all protest sites.
p.63 (On the ‘history’ of Shaheen Bagh)

“Eighty bhigas (approximately 32 acres) of land was purchased by Shariq Ansarullah, who settled and named this area after a poem by Allama Iqbal, the spiritual founder of Pakistan.”

Factually dubious history /

Selective representation of a poet

No evidence provided, no citation of the source of this history or inspiration for this name.

Allama Iqbal also wrote Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara, which became an anthem for resistance against the British and is currently one of the official marching songs of the Indian Army.

p.63 The Blockage of Roads (section heading)

“The protesters at Shaheen Bagh blocked two carriageways on the GD Birla Road, a significant arterial road, disrupting a major entry point to the Kalindi Kunj Bridge. …”

“Given that the Shaheen Bagh protest site occupied a major arterial road, there was significant inconvenience to the public and emerged as a major law and order problem in the area.”

False claim

Deliberately misleading

An independent media portal showed with graphics how Shaheen Bagh protest had occupied a small stretch of road, whereas the police blocked 5 other main points and two parallel roads, which caused the traffic congestion.

The police did not explain why these roads were blocked. Former Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging that the police had unnecessarily blocked the other roads without any justification. The Supreme Court did not order any coercive removal of the protests at Shaheen Bagh but rather appointed interlocutors to open a dialogue with the protesters.

p. 66 “The location of anti-CAA protest sites shows a distinctive pattern. Most of these sites are located in close vicinity of a local mosque.” Selective

Deliberating misleading

Temples, mosques and other places of worship exist in virtually every locality in India.

What is the distinctive pattern?

There are also temples in close proximity to many sites.

Are authors suggesting that mosques were leading the protests? No evidence of that.

p. 68 “Slogans with a distinctly Islamic tone were the norm, interspersed with calls for azadi.” False claim The ‘norm’ was that the protest sites were secular and united, as were the slogans, with people of all faiths participating.

‘Azadi’ in Hindustani means freedom/liberty, the cornerstone of our Constitution. Asking for azadi from poverty, illiteracy, injustice and laws like CAA is a democratic right.

p. 68 Anti-Hindu Agitations at the CAA Protest Sites (section heading)

“Many of the posters were openly Hinduphobic and aimed at desecrating symbols that are sacred in Hinduism. There were efforts to appropriate typical symbols associated with Hindu culture as well, including visuals of bindi-sporting Hindu women wearing burkhas and the Hindu goddess Maa Kali wearing a hijab.”

False/Deliberately spreading hate Hinduphobic means – hating Hindus. Why would anyone express hatred and desecration by adopting symbols of what they allegedly hate, as claimed by authors?

What is the evidence that these were visuals of Hindu women in burqa?

These could equally be representations of Muslim women in burqa wearing bindi?

Women adopting all symbols to project Hindu-Muslim unity, defying those who target on the basis of appearance is not Hinduphobic.

In Shaheen Bagh multi faith prayers were held. Havans and bhajans were held more than once. Holi was celebrated. There was also a programme commemorating exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. Christians and Sikh prayers were also held regularly.

“People say that Shaheen Bagh is a site just for Muslims …To them, I want to say that this mindset needs to be discarded. This is for all Indians. Everyone did a ‘havan’, read the Quran, read Sikh teaching; everyone was present for all.”

Sant Yuvraj, Hindu priest “

p. 70 “Such protests also seem to have links with international Islamist organisations. The impeccable planning of these high-visibility protests also indicates the presence of huge foreign funds and the hand of foreign agencies.” False claim


No evidence cited of such huge slanderous claims.

‘Seem to have’ and

‘Indicates the presence of’ is not evidence

p.70 “We found that the anti-CAA protests were neither democratic nor organic. It was observed that these protests have no single identifiable face or organisation that came across as leaders of the agitations. Thus, everyone in the protests claimed to be an independent voice, while the real planners remained in the background.” False claim


Authors observe there was no single face or single organization leading the anti-CAA protests. Hence, they were organic protests.

Yet, authors say they were not organic protests.

No evidence cited of the claim that “real planners were in the background.”

p. 71-72 Evidence of the Involvement of Urban Naxal and Jihadi Organisations (section heading)

“The slogans on the walls on the protest site resemble a revolutionary political science format. The language seems imposed and totally out of context. The idiom seems to have been picked from some revolutionary manual discussed in a university classroom.”

False claim


As sole evidence of so-called Urban-Naxal-Jihadi involvement, it presents ‘slogans on walls’.

It is the authors assumption that what is taught in universities is divorced from real life, and that ordinary people do not understand political science concepts.

The authors appear not to have spoken to the participants to see their understanding.

p.72 “The emerging image of anxiety and psychosis defies all logic.” Unsubstantiated


The fact that some slogans were not understood by the ‘logic’ of the authors is irrelevant to a fact-finding.

The only evidence of ‘anxiety’ or ‘psychosis’ seems to be the authors own, in such writing.

p.72-73 Organisations Involved in Engineering Communal Riots in North East Delhi (section heading)

“In their Facebook posts, organisations like Pinjra Tod have been blamed by Shaheen Bagh organisers for constantly trying to interfere in their movement and trying to engineer violence on a mass scale. There is a large network of such organisations that have been trying to use policy contestation for engineering widespread communal disturbances.”

False claim



A facebook post is cited as evidence to slander a whole group.

Who are these so-called (plural) Shaheen Bagh organizers?

What is the evidence that the FB post cited is by a Shaheen Bagh organiser’? Especially since the authors say on p.70 that there was no organiser.

Do the authors know this gentleman?

No evidence provided for any claims of ‘large network’ ‘engineering widespread communal disturbances.’


















p. 77 “The orchestrated strategy of the Urban Naxal–Jihadi elements shifted into high gear from mid-February.” False claim


‘Urban-Naxal-Jihadi element’ continues to appear as a phrase with no evidence.

No evidence of this ‘element’ or its relationship with the anti-CAA protest sites, or any ‘orchestration’ nor ‘high gear.’

pp 77-78 Aggression Through Speeches (section heading)

“… hate speeches formed a very important part in escalating the general atmosphere of violence and aggression in the anti- CAA protests.”

“On 17 February, Umar Khalid, a student leader, made a speech in Amravati in Maharashtra. In this speech, he exhorted the largely Muslim audience to come out in large numbers when the American president visited India.

‘I promise that when Donald Trump will visit India on 24 February, we will show how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government is trying to divide the country and tearing apart the principles of Mahatma Gandhi…. We will come out on streets in huge numbers to tell [the US President] that people of India are fighting to bring everyone together.’ Khalid then paused and asked the crowd, ‘Will you come?’ The answer was a resounding ‘yes.’”

False claim

Deliberately misleading

Assertion on hate speech and escalating the atmosphere is backed by no evidence.

Dr. Umar Khalid’s speech is misquoted and selectively presented to malign him.  This is also what he said.

“The people of this country are hungry. If there is a country which accounts for the highest number of deaths of children due to malnutrition, it is unfortunately our country. There are so many people who go to bed hungry in this country. In the global hunger Index, we rank at 102 out of 119 countries. We needed to fight against hunger, we needed to fight against unemployment, against price rise, but they are instead trying to divide the country…”

“We will not respond to violence with violence. We will not respond to hate with hate. If they spread hate, we will respond to it by spreading love. If they beat us with lathis, we will hold aloft the Tricolour. If they fire bullets, then we will hold the Constitution and raise our hands. If they jail us, we will go to jail happily singing, “Saarey Jahaan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara”. But we will not let you destroy our country…”

“We promise when Donald Trump comes to India on 24th, then we will tell that the PM of India and the Government of India is trying to divide the country, destroying the values of Mahatma Gandhi and that the people of India are fighting against the Government of India. If the rulers want to divide India, the people of India are ready to unite the country.”

Not a ‘hate speech’.

How can calls for love and unity and worry about hunger in India mean hate?

No one said ‘goli maaro saalon ko’ (loosely, ‘shoot the bastards’, as said by BJP leaders on video with evidence in the run up to Delhi Assembly elections).

p.78 Demography of North East Delhi (section heading)

“As per the 2001 census data, it has the highest population growth rate amongst all districts of Delhi

… there is a lot of unemployment here.

… it ranks first in population density amongst all Delhi districts at 35,166 persons per square km.

All this offers ready tinder for easy radicalisation.”

Misleading Large in-migration into a poor area, urban congestion and unemployment is a sad reality of many Indian cities. The elite authors appear to have mistrust and dislike for poor people.

Their conclusion – ‘tinder for radicalization’ is based on no evidence. It seems based on their need to paint the area as ‘radical’ to conform to their Jihadi conspiracy theory.

p. 79 Demography of North East Delhi (section heading)

“There are a number of Salafi madrasas that have come up in the area. For instance, locals say that in the Bab ul Uloom Madrasa, Sharia courts are held on a regular basis. One of the main law and order issues identified through on-the-ground interviews was the presence of illegal poultry markets and illegal slaughter in many areas. For instance, as per ground reports, in Mustafabad area, 315 slaughterhouses were operating illegally.”



This section amounts to communalized profiling.

And has no bearing on the Delhi Riots. First, what do Salafi Madrasas, if they do exist, and Sharia courts, if they do happen, or illegal poultry markets, if they do exist, have to do with the Delhi riots?

Second, no evidence of any claim is provided. What are these ‘ground reports’ that give such a specific number of 315 illegal slaughterhouses?

This is desperate ‘Muslim image’-making – linking crime, illegal slaughter, madrasas, sharia. etc. And none of it relates to the Delhi riots.

Pp 81-88 Pages 80-88 have sections describing events, which cannot be pasted here in their entirety. A few descriptions suffice to communicate the tenor:

“In North East Delhi itself, there were seven such sites operational, where the Shaheen Bagh model was replicated…”

“Most of these sites relayed a steady stream of anti-government, anti-CAA, anti-NPR and anti-NRC rhetoric. There were slogans of azadi, in support of freedom for Kashmir, that were relayed from these sites. Some of the bigger dharna sites like Shaheen Bagh had openly anti-Hindu rhetoric.”

False claim


No anti-Hindu rhetoric at Shaheen Bagh and other sites.

No evidence.

Deliberately fanning mistrust and hate through misinformation.

In the comments on Chapter 5 we have already given details on unity at Shaheen Bagh.

p. 82 “For a period of eight weeks, these sites were working in tandem with organisations like AISA, Pinjra Tod and Left-leaning teachers and student organisations to create permanent fissures between Hindus and Muslims in the areas of their operation.” False claim

Deliberately misleading

Many organizations and individuals were present at all sites.

The authors single these out, and then the same names appear in several Police charge-sheets.

Appears to be a conspiracy between authors and Police.

No evidence of intent to create fissures between Hindus and Muslims.

Ample evidence of messages of unity.

p. 83 “Kapil Mishra (a local BJP Leader) comes to Maujpur around 3.30pm. Locals at Maujpur assemble there and sing bhajans. They ask the Delhi police to remove the Jaffrabad blockage, after which, they say, they too will move out.” Selective

Deliberate misrepresentation

Kapil Mishra’s presence and violent speech is softened by creating a benign picture of locals singing bhajans.
p.83 “Led by the anti-CAA protesters at Chand Bagh, violence breaks out at Bhajanpura.” False claim No evidence that the protestors ‘led’ the violence.

Authors seek to pin all blame on anti-CAA protests as part of an imaginary ‘conspiracy’.

This pattern is replicated in all police charge-sheets, including the Jaffrabad charge-sheet (under FIR 50/20)

Evidence of a conspiracy between authors and police is deeply worrying.

p. 83

p. 86

“Some locals, resenting the disturbance and road blockage, also started protesting near Maujpur Chowk. It was the same site where Kapil Mishra had come at 3 pm on 23 February 2020 to address the locals.”

“Hindus mobilised primarily due to anxieties generated by the total blockage of Jaffrabad Metro Station by the Muslim women on 23 February.”

Selective Blames anti-CAA protestors, and justifies the presence of other rioters.

That this is a template for subsequent police charge-sheet can be seen from a section of the Jaffrabad charge-sheet (under FIR 50/20) filed by the Delhi Police.

The only difference is that the police account below entirely omits even a mention of the presence of Kapil Mishra, while this ‘book’ paints his presence in a benign light.

“So the plan of the protest and the conspirators succeeded, because of which, resenting the road blockage, people of the other community on Feb 23, 2020 raised their voice against this dharma and at around 3 pm asked for the road to be open, gathered around 800 meters from the protest site near Maujpur Metro… the protestors crowd under the Jaffrabad metro station station started pelting stones on them …. (p. 26. Para 14 – Jaffrabad Charge-sheet filed by Delhi Police under FIR 50/20)

p. 87 “BJP leader Kapil Mishra was at the spot at 3pm, as some people had gone to call him to diffuse the situation. Since he is a locally respected person, the police sought his help to talk to the people and help clear the place. Mishra asked the police to remove the anti-CAA protesters from the Jaffrabad Metro Station. This was around 4.30pm. He posted this on Twitter at 5pm on 23 February: ‘We have given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh road cleared. After this, do not try to convince us, we would not listen to you either. Three days.’

A local, during our investigation, said, ‘Madam hum doosra Shaheen Bagh apne area me nahin chahte the. Kapil Mishra toh wahan baad me aaya. Hum logon ne soch liya tha ki nahin hone denge.’ (Madam, we did not want another Shaheen Bagh in our area. Kapil Mishra came to the site afterwards. We had already decided that we shall not allow that to happen here.)”

False claim Selective Seeks to whitewash the hate speech that is alleged to have triggered the Delhi riots Justifies presence of BJP leader Kapil Mishra, by saying ‘police sought his help.’

White-washes the fact that the citizens of Delhi were threatened with an ultimatum by this BJP leader, while standing shoulder to shoulder with the DCP (North East) Ved Prakash Surya.

Does not mention that he stood with DCP during this threatening speech.

Shifts blame from Kapil Mishra to unnamed ‘locals.’

Pp 88-94 Events of 24 February


Under this heading, the book ONLY mentions the following persons and incidents:

1.      Amit Sharma, DCP Shahdara and the head injuries sustained by him

2.      Anuj Kumar Sharma, ACP Gokulpuri

3.      Head Constables Ratan Lal & Brijesh, and the death of Ratan Lal

4.      Ankit Sharma, IB staffer’s murder.


Police narrative, or narrative of the ‘book’ copy-pasted by the police

A number of reports have emerged of police brutality, inaction and complicity during the Delhi riots.

In light of these reports, this present ‘book’ does not appear to be an independent fact finding.

It has a template that has demonstrably been copy-pasted by Delhi Police in several charge-sheets.

The possibility of a Police-State conspiracy with authors is deeply worrying.

Barring the tragic death of constable Ratan Lal and Ankit Sharma, this section does not note a single one of the scores of victims – attacked, murdered, injured, whose homes and properties were burnt.

It makes no note of the murder of Faizan, one of 5 injured men lying on the ground being prodded by a group of policemen (still unidentified and unpunished despite video footage) to sing the national anthem on February 24th. The video went viral, and its authenticity was verified.

Faizan died from police injuries on Feb 26, 2020.

p. 88-94 Events of 24 February

This section is peppered with the following descriptions:

“The police wanted to be extra careful.” (pp.88-89)

“The police was very cautious.” (p.89)

“The police on the scene tried all possible ways to dispel the protesting anti-CAA crowd without resorting to force or aggression.” (p.89)

“All of a sudden, thousands of people swarmed out from those lanes. The protesters outnumbered the police party as a sea of rioters swarmed towards the main Bhajanpura Road from the lanes and by- lanes of the Muslim-dominated areas, with Muslim women in good numbers.” (p.89)

“Violence then broke out almost immediately, as the protesting women attacked the police officers with stones, knives and swords hidden beneath their burkhas.” (p.89)

“The rioting mob was equipped with bricks, stones, rods, hockey sticks and pistols.” (p.90)

“The police did not want to fire as a majority of the rioters were women and children.” (p.90)

“The police tried to contain the aggressive crowd with canes and shields but they were outnumbered by the sea of rioters.” (p.90)

“The killer mob appeared to be bent on lynching police officers.” (p.90)

“The murderous mob, including women, followed them with stones, sticks and rods in their hands. They kept stone pelting and attacking the police with rods. Some people from the Hindu community came to rescue police from the Muslim rioters.” (p.91)


Police narrative or narrative of this ‘book’ copy-pasted by the police

This does not seem to be evidence from a fact-finding.

These descriptions of exclusively ‘Muslim’ rioters, women hiding swords under burkhas, children rioters, mobs swarming out from ‘Muslim’ lanes, are slanderous, provocative, misogynistic, and written from the perspective of someone working closely in tandem with the police department, to protect both the police and the real perpetrators.

To write that ‘Hindu Community came to protect Police from Muslim rioters” is communal, poisonous and seeks to divide Indians.

There is no evidence to support these descriptions.

p. 93 “Recently, the investigating police has arrested one Salman as one of the culprits. According to media reports, he has disclosed that he and some other Muslim boys had covered Ankit’s body with a black cloth and they had pulled him to Tahir Hussain’s house. This was the same house from where all the paraphernalia of rioting has been recovered. This was the same house, from whose rooftop petrol bombs were launched and the targets attacked. There were 10 to 14 men were involved in lynching and killing of Ankit Sharma. Salman himself has confessed to stabbing Ankit at least 14 times.” Unsubstantiated

Dubious ‘leaked’ information


It is dangerous for rule of law and all of us, if custodial police confessions, inadmissible in court, because of probable coercion through which they are extracted, are presented as ‘fact’ in a ‘fact-finding book.’

In the Ankit Sharma Charge-sheet (FIR 65/20) presented by the Delhi Police, an independent media scrutiny found four identical ‘confessional’ statements. According to leading criminal lawyers this indicates fabricated statements and coercion.

p. 93 “News of such heart-wrenching deaths is heard from terrorism-infested countries like Syria where Islamic fundamentalists and ISIS kill people with such brutality.

The modus operandi of this kind of killing that was adopted during the riots points to possible links to international organisations.

The gory details of Ankit’s death bring fresh memories of the brave Saurabh Kalia’s gruesome murder by Pakistan forces, whose body had been mutilated in a similar manner during the Kargil War.”

Deliberately misleading This purported ‘fact-finding’ amasses imagery and dog-whistling to hint at a conspiracy and build image of the ‘global brutal killer Muslim’ without a shred of evidence.

Terrorism-infested Syria, ISIS, Islamic fundamentalists, International organizations and Pakistan forces – have nothing to do with the Delhi riots which devastated lives of innocent Indian citizens.


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