Lawyers, activists and victims of last year’s anti-Muslim violence in the Indian capital have accused the authorities and police of sabotaging the investigation and pressuring them to withdraw the cases.
The office of a prominent lawyer fighting the cases of some victims of the February 2020 violence was raided in New Delhi last month, with legal experts calling it an attack on client-lawyer privilege.
Mehmood Pracha, 56, says he was targeted because he is working on cases that might link Home Minister Amit Shah, the closest aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the worst violence the Indian capital had witnessed in nearly 40 years.
In February last year, more than 50 people – mostly Muslims – were killed and hundreds of others injured when violence broke out in the city after supporters of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked a sit-in against a controversial citizenship law.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) fast-tracks Indian citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from three neighbouring countries, but blocks naturalisation for Muslims – a provision that critics say violates India’s secular constitution.
Pracha claims the Delhi police – controlled by Shah’s office – raided his office at the minister’s behest.
“The raid was solely for the purpose of destroying these materials so that I cannot expose the role of the home ministry, the Delhi police, and RSS and BJP cadres,” he told Al Jazeera, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor.
“My assassination is also a part of their design,” he said.