Why Parliament must discuss Delhi riots swiftly
Tears of human sorrow are more truthful than any affidavit of power. They originate from the heart.
In the riot-affected areas in northeast Delhi, we could see tears everywhere. The residents’ faces resembled mirrors of agony. An atmosphere of fear exists there. Heaps of ashes were testimony to what had happened there on the fateful days of February.
Previously, those heaps were houses, shops or vehicles. They were the hopes and dreams of thousands. Communal riot has the capability to convert them into ash within no time. In the bylanes of Sonia Vihar, Chandbagh, Brijpuri and other places, we could see a number of such heaps of ashes and debris.
The urgent necessity is to rebuild their lives with effective measures of rehabilitation and instil confidence in them. Serious political and administrative measures are needed for that.
The claim of the government in the Supreme Court is that everything is normal but in Parliament, the government says otherwise. Let them look at the distressed faces of the men and women of the affected areas and understand the truth about normality.
The government’s stance on these issues after the Delhi riots has to be viewed against the backdrop of people’s disappointment and anguish.
The democratic psyche of India must be ashamed of the government led by the RSS-BJP. Their unwarranted and adamant reluctance to allow a debate in Parliament on the riots in Delhi speaks a lot about their abetment.
The communal frenzy ignited by the ruling party and its top-ranking leaders has snatched the lives of many people. Promises of compensation and rehabilitation still remain a distant dream. In such a situation, when Parliament is in session, it is nothing but natural that the House should discuss the matter with utmost priority.
But the government is relentlessly trying not to provide space for such an essential matter to be debated. They are shameless in arguing that the appropriate time for such a debate would come only after Holi. When tens of thousands of innocent people, mostly minorities and other deprived sections, are living under the cloud of fear and sorrow, the government is planning to shower the unholy water of celebration over the masses. They vehemently insist that Parliament should not discuss it now. They owe an explanation before the nation, whether the sky would fall down if Parliament discusses the most pressing issue in India today.
The communal riots in Delhi were never accidental. It was part of a grand design incubated by the fascist ideology to divide the people. The unconstitutional adventure behind the citizenship tripod (the CAA, the NPR and the NRC) is meant for that purpose alone. Its sole aim was to make religion the basis of citizenship. While doing so, the government was hitting at the fundamental edifice of secularism on which modern India is built.
With their brute majority in Parliament, they steamrollered the legislation. They calculated that through the CAA, a dividing line will be drawn between the Hindus and Muslims, which would serve the interests of majoritarian politics. But it backfired and the people of India came out to oppose the CAA, the NPR and the NRC.
The RSS-BJP could feel the heat of isolation when the citizens, irrespective of religion, stood up to them. The campuses in the country became the fortress of resistance. The women in Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere wrote a new saga of patriotic struggle. Repeated acts of provocation — masked and unmasked — could not succeed in diffusing the vigour of the committed struggle.
Waves of resistance gathered momentum for weeks and months together. Shocked, the RSS-BJP plotted the strikeback.
A series of hate speeches like “goli maaro...” emanated from top leaders, including ministers and MPs. Finally, when the riot broke out, the government abetted it by allowing the rioters to vandalise the national capital. Even while innocent people were killed, the police were not seen on the scene.
The home minister, who controls Delhi police. was absent conspicuously. The Prime Minister, known for his rhetoric and tweets, opened his mouth only on the fifth day. It was enough for the field marshals of the riots to accomplish their missions. Delhi became a helpless prey for the predators of violence.
The Delhi riots of 2020 and the Gujarat riots of 2002 have several common features. Both have been accused of being government-sponsored riots. The chief minister of Gujarat in 2002 is the Prime Minister of India in 2020 and the then state home minister is now the Union home minister.
Their role cannot be hidden by any number of political gimmicks. Exactly because of this, the ruling dispensation is bent to prevent a parliamentary debate on this national concern.
Let them look around and see how the world has responded to the Delhi riots. In many foreign capitals, there were protest marches before Indian embassies. A debate took place in British Parliament. Several countries have come out openly against the communal killings. The riots have badly affected the economy which was already in dire straits.
The riots have adversely affected the international image of India. In this background, it is only appropriate that the Indian Parliament discuss the most pressing concerns of its people.
Parliament is the unquestionable representative body of the people. That is why it is considered supreme in a democracy. The executive is accountable to Parliament. The government has no authority, whatsoever, to stall a debate on a vital issue in Parliament. It can never be imagined as the dancing doll to play to the tunes of a Prime Minister or a home minister.
India is much bigger than the fascist framework of their narrow mind. Parliament is here to uphold the concerns and aspirations of the people of India. They are the masters. While Parliament is answerable only to the people, the government is answerable to Parliament. That is why the demand is reverberating: discuss the Delhi riots here and now!
Binoy Viswam is the secretary of Communist Party of India, National Council, and leader of the party in Parliament.