A few Delhi journalists who were covering the February 2020 riots in the national capital have been telephoned by the police, asking them where they were on that day.
The journalists, who have been questioned so far, made one mistake: they used their cell phones to make calls to either their families, or to people from whom they would later get quotes for their articles.
Two journalists – Archis Mohan and Radhika Ramaseshan – shared what happened to them on Twitter.
Radhhika was the first person to share her experience. “Bizarre experience morning. Cop from Rohini PS called. Were you in Karawal Nagar on Feb.27? Yes I was. We traced r number. What were u doing there? Covering d violence. Okay sorry ji. We thought u were part of a group. Spoke again to d cop who said got some numbers on dump data (sic),” she tweeted.
She added that the Delhi police were calling the numbers to ‘track down criminals as par of an investigation’. “Thought the investigations were long over. Five months on have they only started working on the Delhi violence? How did cops get the numbers? Means providers are sharing our data freely? Where is the law? Where is the protection?”
Archis Mohan shared his story on Wednesday, although he received a call from the police only last week. “As did I, phoned a couple of local contacts during the visit. A cop phoned last week from Rohini to know details like where I lived. He said he was investigating some murders that took place in the area around the time I was there!” he replied to Radhika’s tweet.
Other journalists from Delhi who covered the violence, but did not make any calls on that day, expressed their shock and criticised the Delhi police.
The 2020 Delhi riots, or North East Delhi riots, were multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting in North East Delhi, where 53 people lost their lives.