Amit Shah says don’t blame Delhi police for riots3 min read . Updated: 12 Mar 2020, 07:44 PM IST
- Within 36 hours Delhi police contained the spread of violence, Shah says
- Delhi riots killed 53 people and injured over 500
NEW DELHI : Facing flak once again for his absence during the sectarian riots in northeast Delhi, more than two weeks back, the Opposition on Thursday hit out at Union home minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha for failing to contain the violence that has killed 53 and injured over 500 people.
While the issue of Delhi violence has been causing uproar in both houses of Parliament over the last one week, the Centre continued to remain steadfast in its appreciation of the Delhi police, with Amit Shah reiterating -- quick on the heels of his defence in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday -- that the police had in fact contained the violence well in time.
“Don’t blame the Delhi police. Blame me if you want. The Delhi police did a great job in containing the violence. This is a 16-km area with 20 lakh people. When the atmosphere was so violent, the Delhi police kept it limited to this 4% of affected area amongst just 13% of the population. This credit and success belongs to Delhi police. Within 36 hours they contained the spread of violence," Shah said, responding to the ongoing debate in the Upper House, on Thursday.
Shah also informed the Upper House that on 25 February after 11pm, there were no reported cases of rioting, adding that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had made no request for brining in the Indian Army until 27 February.
“On 24 February, UP border was sealed and the areas where the riots happened are along the UP border. From 25 February, all peace committee meetings had begun and 321 committees had met by the 26 February. We deployed paramilitary troops in areas where the situation was flaring up," he said.
Earlier, Opposition parties stated that even though the riots had coincided with US President Donald Trump’s arrival, Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to intervene had caused the violence to spiral out of control.
“If the home minister and Prime Minister went out to appeal to the people, would President Trump have stopped them? It was imperative for him to reach out to the people to contain the violence," Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Opposition of Rajya Sabha said.
The Opposition also hit out at the Centre for tacitly approving police inaction during the riots and failing to register cases against leaders who had allegedly made hate-speeches, simultaneously questioning why the chain of command was “superseded and the National Security Advisor was deployed."
“When this was spreading, there is footage that shows the police themselves were breaking CCTV cameras to ensure that there was no evidence of those engaging in violence, for their benefit. This episode started because people were instigated and why has an FIR not been filed against those who were making hate speeches? This is a cognizable offence," senior Congress party leader Kapil Sibal said.
Sibal added, “There are roughly 87,000 police personnel in Delhi police and despite that the violence could not be stopped. It is clear, that the police was colluding with those engaging in violence."
Dodging attacks by the Opposition on alleged hate speeches by senior BJP leader prior to the riots, Shah passed the buck back onto the opposition saying that “hate speeches had begun as soon as Citizenship Amendment Act was passed."
While the Opposition erupted over Shah’s comments, stating that the Centre’s decision on CAA and the upcoming National Population Register (NPR) process was divisive, Shah clarified stating that “no document will be demanded from people during NPR and if any information is left out, then they will not be declared ‘doubtful. You don’t need to fear the NPR process."
Shah also stressed that investigations into the riots had begun. “As of now more than 700 FIRs have been registered and 1647 people have been arrested. All arrests done on the basis of scientific evidence on the basis of detailed scrutiny," he said.
The home minister also added that over 40 teams have been deployed to track down the perpetrators of the riots. We are taking the investigation very seriously.
“Before 24 February, we had information of illegal funds coming in and being distributed (to fuel protests) and investigation had already begun. But before investigation was completed, riots had begun," Shah said.
Shah also criticized the continued sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh, which has entered its third month after taking off on 15 December, stating that “people should not be inconvenienced," adding that “gradually anti-CAA protests took on the colour of communal riots."