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Congress avoids blame game, slams CAA

People are paying the price for putting in power insensitive and shortsighted leaders: P. Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 25.02.20, 09:45 PM

Former home minister P. Chidambaram on Monday attributed the violence in Delhi to the “divisive CAA” as the Congress officially avoided any blame game while appealing to every party to rise above partisan considerations to restore peace.

Chidambaram said in a series of tweets: “The violence in Delhi yesterday and the loss of lives are most shocking and deserve the strongest condemnation. We had warned that CAA was deeply divisive and should be repealed or abandoned. Our warning fell on deaf ears.”

He added: “The people are paying the price for putting in power insensitive and shortsighted leaders. Even now it is not too late. The Government should listen to the voices of the anti-CAA protesters and declare that the CAA will be kept in abeyance until the Supreme Court pronounced on its validity. India has lived with the Citizenship Act 1955 without the amendment. Why does the Act need an amendment now? The amendment (CAA) should be abandoned forthwith.”

Rahul Gandhi too had issued a cautious tweet on Monday: “The violence today in Delhi is disturbing & must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion & understanding no matter what the provocation.”

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in a statement appealed for maintaining communal harmony to defeat the objectives of divisive forces.

Sonia has called a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Wednesday.

Party communications chief Randeep Surjewala said at a news conference on Tuesday: “This is not the time to criticise or indulge in a blame game. We earnestly appeal to every party to rise to the occasion and collectively work for peace. We request Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to ensure peace returns; every Congress worker will stand by you. The need of the hour is to protect people and end violence.”

Expressing concern at the level of violence in the national capital, Surjewala said: “We have always said that there are some forces which want to disturb societal peace. We demand the strongest action against those who are responsible for this flare-up. The nation’s soul has been injured. Citizens, policemen and the media have been attacked. We pray for their well-being and recovery.”He added: “The central government should have been alert, particularly because there was a foreign dignitary in the city. Though we don’t want to analyse the reasons today, it is sad that the capital was in the grip of rioters for two days and the country got a bad name. Even now, all-out efforts should be made to take out peace marches and restore normality in the disturbed areas.”

On Monday, former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had criticised chief minister Arvind Kejriwal without uttering a word on the likes of BJP leader Kapil Mishra whose incendiary posturing attracted widespread criticism.

Maken said: “As a Chief Minister, please do not appear to be helpless. A few suggestions- 1) Immediately establish a helpline directly under you for any complaint of police inaction or that of violence, to be monitored & further passed on to the police+SDM. 2. Immediately call an all-party meeting, take suggestions and work across political parties to restore normalcy in troubled areas; 3. Immediately form peace committees in all troubled areas comprising of important social influencers from the same areas, including elected MLAs, councillors, DC of the District, local SHO & SDM.”

He added: “Make each minister of your Cabinet in charge of such committees and ask them to hit the ground; 4. Immediately establish a hotline with the Lt Governor and talk to him on hourly basis to take stock of situation; 5. Take lead and don’t sit back blaming others. Being helpless would further erode a much needed credibility of our democratic institutions to protect violence against the innocent citizens.”

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