Tragically, Delhi mourns its 35 dead and still awaits a larger count in mortuaries, with over a hundred victims lying in perilous state in hospitals in the aftermath of the worst three-day communal riots Delhi has witnessed since 1984 when nearly 3,000 Sikhs were burned alive in politically-instigated violence after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the origin of which lay at the door of the INC leadership. As the violence flared up on Tuesday, the central administration took strict measures, deploying 44 paramilitary companies and 800 more troops in the affected areas, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval taking charge of controlling the bloody clashes that came on the heels of widespread protests against the Parliament-approved Citizenship Amendment Act. Shoot-at-sight orders were issued to cover all riot-hit areas. On Thursday, the police are conducting flag marches and the other security personnel have spread out across the violence-battered localities to quell the unrest. However, an uneasy calm prevails in the affected segments, with tension and anxiety still gripping the people. However, after taking a round of the affected areas on Wednesday, Doval said the warring communities were now “looking for peace, bonhomie and togetherness” and that, hopefully, “absolute communal harmony will be back soon”. If the violence took such a nasty turn, Intelligence and the police together partly share the blame, besides the political intrigues of the opposition that were tragically brought into play, obviously to settle scores with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership which, in recent times, brought several ‘nationalist’ laws which were seen as hitting the interest of Muslims.
The intelligence agencies ostensibly failed to forewarn of the conspiracy that lay growing in the narrow lanes of the Muslim-dominated parts of North-East Delhi, something even the laymen of the city had timely apprehended. On its part, police too failed to act quickly in seven riot-hit sensitive areas, even though almost 70-day-old Shaheen Bagh hold-up stood ominously in place to warn everyone in the city, from the levers of the administration to the man in the street. Now, a question is being asked: How did the victims receive gunshot injuries from rooftops of Muslim households? Do the owners of these houses really have licensed guns? If not, there must, in fact, be a sustained search operation for all unlicensed arms, wherever they are kept, in houses or in business godowns.
The worst affected localities in riots are Seelampur, Jaffarabad, Karawal Nagar, Maujpur, Baburpur, Gokulpuri and Shivpuri. An officer of the Intelligence Bureau, Ankit Sharma, was reportedly beaten to death by a mob at the Chand Bagh bridge, while on his way home. His body was thrown in a drain in Jaffrabad. AAP Corporator Tahir Hussain is alleged to be behind the officer’s killing.
Opposition says one speech by Mishra turned people violent
Opposition and Muslim groups allege that Kapil Mishra, a local BJP politician, made a fiery speech in Jafarabad in which he asked the police either to clear out the demonstrators, who were blocking the main road in a colony close to a metro station, or his followers would do it themselves after US President Donald Trump leaves the country. Within hours of this speech, it is alleged, Hindu-Muslim violence exploded. Gangs of Hindus and Muslims fought pitched battles with swords and sticks, shops and vehicles were set ablaze, chunks of bricks and stones sailed through the air and mobs rained blows on their targets.
However, no one seems to be grasping the reality that the violence was preplanned as another Shaheen Bagh was being deliberately and provocatively staged, this time in north-east Delhi at a major public route.
How could Mishra’s speech be a trigger for violence? If only one speech could do it, what about hundreds of speeches of hate, threats, abomination and hostility that were delivered by Muslim politicians, maulvis and mullahs? Politicians like Waris Pathan had the temerity to threaten that “15 crore Muslims will dominate 100 crore Hindus”. Some even said, “Time is not far off when Islamists will rule this country”. Some wanted “Kashmir-wali āzādi” and “Jinnah-wali āzādi”, some others warned Hindus to be wary of “real Muslim power”, as protesters clapped in appreciation of such explosive diatribes.
INC, communist and AAP leaders openly supported the protesters, well aware of the consequences of this politically-motivated support. Rahul Gandhi, Salman Khurshid, Digvijay Singh, Mani Shankar Aiyer and a dozen others even encouraged protesters not to leave the place and, if possible, to extend the hold-up to more strategic spots in the city.
Why didn’t the Hindu youths react then, to those ugly outbursts which came in refrain for over two months as the protests continued in Delhi and elsewhere? This is a valid question that needs to be answered by the critics of Mishra’s speech.
Opposition begins its dirty game
As the situation eased, opposition leaders indulged in the dirty game which they usually play in times of crises. Instead of extending help in restoring order in the riot-hit areas, they indulged in their vicious blame game. INC supremo Sonia Gandhi, whose husband was almost privy to Sikh’s massacre in 1984, came out of her AC chamber to attack the Modi govt and called for Home Minister’s resignation. Her daughter, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, faked her amusing presence, choosing to take out, what she called ‘peace march’ to Gandhi Smriti, instead of visiting the disturbed areas to counsel the incensed rioting minds. Almost all parties, without an exception, attacked Modi and Shah, saying that “they together have destroyed the country.”
Now, who will tell them that this gory spectacle of hate and hostility is the creation of their own deceitful intrigues that they wove around to churn out bagfuls of Muslim votes, ignoring all the pressing calls of national interest and wellbeing? Implementation of the new Citizenship Act is essentially beneficial to all communities of the country, including the resident Muslims. However, the grimy politics of vote painfully took this apparently a non-issue to the point of death and desperation on the Capital’s streets.
Police had a free hand to act but they failed
How can the Opposition leaders blame the Centre for “sleeping over the bloodshed”, when the latter had given blanket powers to Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to step in quickly as and when the situation deteriorated anywhere in the city in the wake of the Shaheen Bagh protest? Just when another Shaheen Bagh was being created in Jafrabad, blocking yet another arterial road, police personnel were promptly needed to disperse the crowd by persuasion or by force — no matter if political cabals put up women and kids were in the front again in a well-planned frame-up, ranged against the Centre that looks determined to implement the CAA.
In fact, the police chief had the brief from the home minister not to allow another road blockade in the city, since Shaheen Bagh had already given a harrowing time to the public, police and the Central administration.
Shaheen Bagh a creation of Kejriwal
I want to ask the INC-led opposition leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as to why they chose, in the first place, to create Shaheen Bagh and then advised the protesters to militate against the Supreme Court that had appointed interlocutors to find a way out to lift the road blockade. Why were the communally threatening and provocative slogans persistently raised at the dharna site? Where was Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, who were voted to power just a few days back, as the rioters burned shops, vehicles, public property and indulged in lynching and killings?
Kejriwal as chief minister not only failed to reach out to the affected people but also abandoned his duty to ask his MLAs to meet the local leaders to help bring peace. On the contrary, he embarrassed the Union govt by repeatedly asking why the Army was not called to control the riots. These are the people who, in fact, are also responsible for the tragic turn of events. Who does not know Kejriwal had created Shaheen Bagh to garner Muslim votes by providing them with enough funds, food, sympathy and all-possible material support during the road blockade. Muslims had reportedly promised to vote AAP en masse, provided Kejriwal extended them full support in their agitation against the CAA.
Trump gambit of opposition fails
Things are now unfolding in quick succession, bearing testimony to the fact that the Opposition had planed the riots much in advance to project the Narendra Modi government in poor light internationally as US President Donald Trump was to visit India for two days. But as the things turned out, Trump quickly imbibed the reality of the situation and rightly concluded that Modi was not against Muslims and had, in fact, given a lot of additional, unprecedented benefits to this community. Trump said in his public speech that “Modi stands for religious freedom” and that he “believes in the equality of all religions”. Trump even stated that the “Citizenship Act is the internal matter of India.”
Trump’s own intelligence apparatus had understandably briefed him about the contents of the new law that places a bar on Muslims hailing from the neighbouring Islamic countries, on the alibi of persecution, from getting citizenship in India. The INC, communists, Muslim leaders and Kejriwal had thought that Trump will take a serious view of the riots in Delhi during his visit, something that effectively backfired. On the contrary, Trump lauded PM Modi’s leadership, his views on human rights and even stated that “World humanity had hope under the leadership of Modi, who is now a global figure.”