In a stormy debate in Lok Sabha on Wednesday on the recent communal riots in Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said none found involved, irrespective of their religion, caste, or party affiliation, would be spared. He said the violence was a pre-planned conspiracy. In the debate, some of the Opposition members questioned the role of the Delhi Police and of Shah himself, and demanded that he resign owning moral responsibility.
Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Trinamool Congress’ Saugata Roy, Biju Janata Dal’s Pinaki Misra, and others, demanded an independent inquiry and questioned why the violence could not be controlled for three days. Misra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah had “lost the most” because of the riots and their “sheen” had worn off. He said Shah’s reputation as a strong administrator had “taken a beating”. In his reply, Shah lauded the Delhi Police for not allowing the riots to spread to the rest of the national Capital. He expressed grief over the death of people in the violence, and said the Delhi Police succeeded in controlling riots within 36 hours.
He said that a total of 2,647 people have been detained or arrested. The home minister said “no innocent” will be “harassed”. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval visited riot- affected areas on my request to raise morale of the Delhi police, Shah said. “We wanted discussion on Delhi violence (in Parliament) after Holi to avoid communal flare-up during festival time,” he said. Shah said he monitored the situation sitting with the Delhi Police brass, and did not attend the lunch, dinner, and reception that the government had hosted for visiting Donald Trump. He said he didn’t want to disrupt police work by visiting riot-hit areas.
The home minister said that over 700 FIRs against people of both communities had been registered and video footage using facial recognition software is being analysed.
He said more than 300 people had crossed over from Uttar Pradesh into northeast Delhi to engineer the riots. He said three people who funded the riots have been arrested. Shah said Congress leaders instigated the riots through their speeches at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi in December. The Congress staged a walkout during Shah’s reply. To some MPs stating that of the 53 killed in the riots, 40 were Muslims, two cops, and 11 Hindus, which tells the tale of which community bore the brunt, Shah said “52 Indians died, 526 Indians were injured — don’t discriminate among them on the basis of religion.”
Congress’ Chowdhury said the situation came under control soon after the NSA visited the areas. “Why couldn’t the home minister go... NSA reports to the Prime Minister. Does this mean that the Prime Minister’s Office has lost faith in the home ministry?” Chowdhury asked. Chowdhury alleged that Delhi High Court judge S Muralidhar was transferred as he had questioned the failure of Delhi Police in containing the violence. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said there is a “tsunami of Hindutva hate” and called for an impartial probe to find the perpetrators of the violence.