‘Sad’ Amit Shah pats police on Delhi riots
Home minister Amit Shah, who is in charge of law and order in Delhi, on Wednesday said he was not absent during the riots in the national capital that have killed “52 Indians” and injured “526 Indians”.
“After attending the prescheduled event of US President Donald Trump in my constituency, I was back in Delhi by 6.30pm. I didn’t attend the lunch and dinner (for Trump). I was sitting with Delhi police,” Shah said.
The minister was neither seen nor heard during the three days of violence that ravaged northeast Delhi last month. His speech in Parliament, in reply to the debate forced by the Opposition, was the first time Shah was speaking about the riots that took place over two weeks ago.
Shah expressed sadness over the deaths in the riots from the “core of his heart”.
The police, under fire for being mute spectators to the violence, received a pat on the back from the minister.
“Police had a big responsibility in not allowing the riots to spread to other parts. They did a commendable job as the riots were limited to 4 per cent of the city’s area and only 13 per cent of the population,” Shah said.
One of the reasons the minister cited for the fast spread of violence was “mixed population”. The others were the geographical situation of north-east Delhi, “narrow lanes where police vehicles were unable to go”, a “history of riots” and that the area was “criminal-infested”.
Shah said he had sent national security adviser Ajit Doval to visit the riot-affected areas. He did not go himself because he did not want the police to get “distracted”.
The minister also spoke about “hate speeches”. Not the one delivered by party leader Kapil Mishra, who had on February 23 given the police an ultimatum to clear the anti-citizenship law protests within three days. Within hours of that speech, delivered in northeast Delhi, the violence started. About that speech, Shah only said it was being probed.
The speech Shah spoke of was one delivered by Sonia Gandhi to Congress workers. “On December 14, the Congress chief at a rally in Ramlila Maidan said, ‘come out of your homes, it’s a do or die battle’. Another family member said, ‘we’ll be called cowards if we don’t come out’. Are these not hate speeches?” Shah asked.
Sonia had called upon Congress workers to fight to defend democracy, the Constitution and the rights of all Indians. She had spoken about joblessness, rising prices, Kashmir, the citizenship law, black money, safety of cash in banks and women’s issues.
“This speech is delivered on December 14 and on December 16 the Shaheen Bagh protests start,” Shah said.
On December 15, Delhi police had gone on the rampage at Jamia Millia Islamia where students were protesting against the citizenship law. The Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protest is a peaceful sit-in.
Shah said the riots were “pre-planned” and the result of a “deep conspiracy”. The police were using “face recognition” software to identify the rioters from videos, he said. “The software will not identify rioters based on their religion or their clothes,” he said.