Delhi Riots

What has been happening in Delhi is gruesome, considering the extent of the toll it has taken of human lives and of the damage it has caused to property. At the time of writing, the death toll has risen to 42 and countless numbers are lying injured. Hordes of persons who had come to Delhi in order to earn a living are leaving Delhi in panic because they find the situation in the nation's capital insecure. After three days of wanton destruction of life and property, Prime Minister Modi has appealed to 'my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace'. What he was doing all the time when lives were being lost and shops ransacked—in other words, when the city was burning—is too unimportant a question that Modi does not feel an obligation to answer. When provocative speeches were being poured from the mouths of Kapil Misra, Anurag Thakur and others, officers of the Delhi police, which is under the administration of Amit Shah, maintained a studied silence, instead of preventing a possible outbreak of mob violence. The police had been rebuked by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court as well for their callousness, but these rebukes have failed to spur them, because the iron hand of Amit Shah holds their hands. When the riots and killings were going on, the Delhi police forces took a position of deliberate passivity, clearly because their super boss Amit Shah wanted them to behave in that manner. The bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh asked the government to file FIRs against the concerned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for instigating riots by making hate speeches. Immediately after that, S Muralidhar was transferred and at midnight on 26 February, his transfer was approved of by the president. Then the issue of filing FIRs against the instigators was postponed. Nobody should rack his/her brain to understand that the central government was determined to prevent the filing of FIRs and punishment the guilty. The way Mr Muralidhar was transferred suggests among other things that he was considered a thorn in the central government's path and a hindrance to the purpose of saving the instigators. An amusing point to note is that on 26 February, the Solicitor General, before the Delhi High Court, pleaded ignorance of the hate speeches, video clips of which have been watched by countless persons. This ignorance certainly speaks volumes of the worth of a Solicitor General of a vast country like India. En passant, it may be pointed out that the BJP managed to win in the recent assembly polls by virtue of the various communal polarisation campaigns led by Amit Shah. Hence it can be surmised that defeat at the polls infuriated the Shah brigade to the extreme and they decided to teach the people of Delhi, particularly the Muslims, a lesson.

Talks of the barbaric massacre of Sikhs in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi in late 1984 have been revived. It may be noted that within less than two months of that bloody event, the Lok Sabha polls were held and the Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS), of which Mr Modi was pracharak at that time, supported the Congress(I), thus showing its approval of the genocide. The Sangh Parivar, it may rightly be assumed by some, is now frantically trying to replicate that notorious event, albeit in a different guise. In 1984, there were Sikhs to be murdered; now there are Muslims and those non-Muslims who are opposed to the Modi-Shah rule. But alas, there is at present no sympathy wave for it to capitalise on. The deed of the Modi-Shah combine may well boomerang.

The Modi-Shah enterprise finally succeeded in communalising the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR agitation at least in Delhi. Violent communal speeches of BJP leaders led to mob frenzy and violence in Delhi, particularly in east Delhi witnessed large scale rioting, arson and loot. Violence to a great extent was one sided while the police remained a mute spectator, allowing saffron strom-troopers to go on rampage before their eyes. Whatever Kapil Mishra's strategy it is working. The Delhi Police has been acting like it cannot see or hear Mishra's provocations, though his infamous speech was delivered in the presence of Ved Prakash Surya, the DCP (Northeast) Seelampur. For one thing Delhi riots show BJP is using mobs to end women's protests. These heinous acts of saffron hooligans and measured silence of prime minister Modi, home minister Shah and Delhi Police administration is disgraceful and one more blot on the plural constitution of India. The violence on the eve of Trump's visit seems to be pre-planned.

The anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) stir begun in mid-December, 2019, with the amended citizenship law being linked to update of the NPR and NRC. The narrative that troubled many was that the combination of CAA, NPR and NRC was basically aimed at particular community—Muslims. Three days after communal violence broke out in Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanded resignation of home minister Amit Shah saying he is responsible for the current situation in Delhi and rising communal passion across the country.

BJP says politicising communal violence is wrong, as Congress is doing but they do not say what is right. Kapil Mishra has been a serial hate speech offender, with each threat becoming more blatant by the day. It is imperative that he be held accountable for his words and actions and prosecuted under the relevant sections of the law. They have created a state of fear psychosis throughout the country as it was the case during Indira Gandhi's emergency. In truth the recent Delhi violence is a story of police, politics and riot-ready mob, as people saw it in 1947, waiting to act after getting green signal from their action squads leaders. Whether they like it or not this violence cannot be anything but state sponsored. For all practical purposes the Delhi police, not to speak of the central police proved ineffective.

As the situation is getting super-charged with every passing day the riot-prone mobs and hooligans are brandishing their weapons on both sides. When both kinds of rioters hit the roads, people peace loving, democratic and liberal people, appear a loser while the politics of hate and communalism the winner.


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Vol. 52, No. 38, Mar 22 - 28, 2020