SAD, JD(U) don’t name BJP, but blame Delhi riots on central govt
NEW DELHI : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Janata Dal (United) didn’t name ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but blamed the central government for the communal riots that erupted in Northeast Delhi Sunday and continued for the next two days. Their criticism was primarily reserved for Delhi Police, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry.
Another key ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), said statements made by certain BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra were responsible for inciting violence. The SAD and the JD(U) said the central government should ensure strong action is taken against those behind the violence.
Talking to The Print, SAD leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral said the responsibility for the violence lay squarely with the central government as law and order was its domain. Gujral said the government should take strong action against those behind the violence, irrespective of their party affiliations or religious beliefs.
Although the party had voted for the law in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, it later demanded that Muslims be included in the Citizenship Amendment Act. Senior JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi, the party’s national spokesperson, said the central government was at fault.
“There was a need for a dialogue between the Centre and the protesters. It did not happen. Dialogue could have prevented the situation from deteriorating further,” he added. Tyagi called Delhi Police’s behaviour “pathetic”. “The way Delhi Police acted was unbecoming.”
Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan has demanded strict action against three BJP leaders accused of inciting the violence that has consumed parts of Delhi, killing 38 people and injuring over 300 others. Speaking to a tv channel , he hit out at Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Verma and local leader Kapil Mishra, claiming that a trend of making hate speeches began with Mr Thakur and his call to “goli maaro (gun down) traitors”.
“I demand that BJP central leadership take strict action against BJP leaders guilty of inciting violence in Delhi: Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma. Administrative action must also be taken against them,” Mr Paswan said.
“This trend started during Delhi Assembly election when Anurag Thakur said “goli maaro (gun down) traitors”, which led to a firing incident and also violence. Recently Kapil Mishra threatened (anti-citizenship law) protesters in front of police. If action had been initiated against him promptly then perhaps violence would not have spread,” he said.
Mr Paswan’s father, Ram Vilas Paswan, also said: “The fact riots continued during US President’s visit is a blot on our nation. Stern action must be taken against all those who are guilty”. Mr Paswan’s comment echoed those he made two weeks ago, when he told NDTV that the BJP’s vitriolic focus on anti-citizenship law protests during Delhi election was a mistake.
The Bihar politician also said he would make his objections known if a similar strategy were employed during Assembly election in his state later this year; the BJP and the LJP are allies.
Videos of speeches by Mr Thakur, Mr Mishra and Mr Verma were played in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, as a two-member bench headed by Justice S Muralidhar criticised Delhi Police for delays in filing FIRs against BJP leaders over hate speech complaints.
A furious High Court asked if cops wanted to “acknowledge the presence of a crime”. Action, however, has been deferred by at least four weeks. The court, which yesterday gave Delhi Police 24 hours to take a “conscious decision”, softened its stand.
Kapil Mishra, who has a history of making incendiary comments, delivered a pro-CAA speech in northeast Delhi’s Maujpur neighbourhood hour before violence broke out. In his speech, which was caught on video, he was seen giving Delhi Police an ultimatum.
He was earlier punished by the Election Commission for comments about “mini-Pakistans” in Delhi – a reference to Shaheen Bagh protests in the national capital, but no FIR was filed. Similarly shocking speeches were made by Mr Thakur during campaigning for Delhi polls. Anurag Thakur received only a 72-hour campaigning ban for his comments and no FIR was filed. In the days after Mr Thakur’s speech lone gunmen attacked anti-CAA protests in Delhi.
“Why was internet not suspended in affected areas? Why was WhatsApp group not monitored?” Mr Paswan asked, on a day when Delhi Police sources said goons had organised themselves and whipped up frenzy via videos and messages on WhatsApp groups.
Unrelenting violence consumed northeast Delhi as roving mobs armed with iron rods, sticks and guns defied police orders banning large gatherings to rampage through the streets, committing arson and vandalism and terrifying residents.