Election Commission accused of illegally sharing photos and addresses of residents of North-East Delhi with police after February 2020 pogrom: RTI activist makes sensational revelation


An RTI activist has made a sensational disclosure alleging that the Election Commission of India unlawfully shared photos and addresses of all the residents of North-East Delhi with police after the February 2020 pogrom. Sharing a ‘letter’ from the ECI, Gokhale said that the entire voter list with photos were handed over illegally to the Delhi Police to enable the ‘identification’ of people.


Gokhale wrote, “The 1st line of the order itself admits that voter lists shared with police CANNOT contain photos. ECI broke these rules & made these full voter lists WITH PHOTOS available to police after the Delhi pogrom. This is an easy way to identify minorities living in any area.”

He tagged the ECI spokesperson, Sheyphali Sharan, on Twitter asking her to clarify why the national poll body had broken its own rules. He tweeted, “Scores of young Muslim innocent men were picked up by police arbitrarily. Are voter lists with photos being shared in other places too for building a “facial recognition” database? THIS IS SERIOUS!”

The ECI has not responded to the allegation.

In the purported letter of the ECI shared by Gokhale, an under secretary level civil servant had directed the Chief Electoral Officer to ‘display the electoral roll along with images of electors of North-East Parliamentary Constituency’ with the Delhi Police.

It wrote, “I am directed to refer to your letter No F 2.(12/CEO/ER/ 2012351 dated 06.03.2020, on the subject cited, and to state that the electoral database of entire AC/District should not be shared with the Police Authorities in accordance with the Commission’s prevailing policy and practice The Commission, keeping in view of the request of Delhi Police that photographs of electors, as available in the electoral roll of North-East Shahdara and East Delhi Districts are to be matched with the photographs of culprits captured through CCTV and other video footage available with the investigation team of recent incidence of violence in Delhi, has directed to advise CEO Delhi to display the electoral roll along with images of electors of North-East Parliamentary Constituency before the investigating officer in his office Action be taken accordingly.”

The ECI, according to Gokhale, later issued a clarification saying that it does not share photos and addresses of voters with any organisations or agencies. However, the poll body did not the question raised by its own letter that Gokhale had shared.

The anti-Muslim pogrom in February had killed 53 people, mostly Muslims in the national capital of India. The Delhi Police have come under considerable condemnation for inaction against BJP leaders, whose hate speeches led to the pogrom.


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