New Delhi: Vowing not to spare anyone involved in the Delhi violence irrespective of their religion, caste or party affiliation, Home Minister Amit Shah said Wednesday in the in Lok Sabha it will be a lesson for the country on what befalls those who indulge in rioting.
Replying to a discussion in the lower house on the Delhi riots, Shah said the violence was ‘prima facie a pre-planned conspiracy’.
Despite opposition’s criticism over the alleged inaction of the Delhi Police during the violence last month, Shah appreciated the force for controlling the riots within 36 hours and said the steps taken by the police ensured that the violence was ‘limited to a geographical area’ and did not spiral. He informed the House that 2,647 people have been detained or arrested in these riots. About 700 FIRs were filed, 152 weapons used in violence seized so far and 49 cases lodged under Arms Act, Shah said.
A case of conspiracy was filed after looking at how the riots spread in such a short span of time, Shah said. He added that more than 300 people apparently came from Uttar Pradesh.
Expressing grief over the loss of lives and conveying his condolences to the bereaved families, Shah said he wants to assure them that no one who was involved in the riots will be spared.
“We will spare no one irrespective of their religion, caste and political affiliation. Such action will be taken that it will be lesson for the country on what befalls those who indulge in rioting,” he said. He assured the House that CCTV footage is being analysed using face identification software, and took a dig at the opposition, saying that the software does not discriminate on the basis of religion or clothes. He said details of voter identity cards and driving licences were fed into the software which helped identify 1,100 people.
Responding to the opposition’s criticism on not visiting riot-affected areas, Shah said he didn’t want to divert the attention of Delhi police at such a sensitive time. “I did not go to the ground because I did not want the police to get distracted and divert their resources for my security,” he said. Shah also informed the House that he didn’t attend various events related to US President Donald Trump’s visit to the national capital as he was busy with Delhi police in formulating strategy to control the violence. He attended Trump’s event at Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, as it was preplanned and it was in his constituency.
Taking on the opposition, Shah said the government wanted a discussion on the Delhi violence in parliament after Holi to avoid communal flare up during festival time, but some have other priorities. Giving details of the casualties due to riots, Shah said, ‘52 Indians lost their lives during the violence’. Unlike the opposition, Shah said he doesn’t want to name how many Hindus or Muslims died.
“I won’t give figures in Hindu-Muslim. 52 Indians have died, 526 Indians have been injured. Shops of 371 Indians were set ablaze and houses of 142 Indians were burned,” he said.
While Shah was speaking, the Congress walked out in protest.
Earlier the opposition in Lok Sabha demanded Wednesday demanded Shah’s resignation for failing to contain the violence.
As the government came under attack from the opposition during the debate on the recent communal riots in the national capital that claimed over 50 lives, the BJP members alleged that the violence was a pre-planned conspiracy and the home minister and authorities took pro-active steps to control the situation. The ruling party said evidence show that stones and petrol bombs were stored in huge quantity to fuel the violence.
Initiating the discussion on ‘recent law and order situation in some parts of Delhi’, Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wondered how violence continued for three days despite the fact that Delhi Police is one of the best equipped in the country. “The Home Minister (Amit Shah) will have to explain,” he said.
Hitting out at the prime minister, Chowdhury said, ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned’. “When Delhi was witnessing violence, Modi was hosting US President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad,” the Congress leader said. “Some claimed Hindus won, others said Muslims won in the violence. The fact is that humanity was defeated,” Chowdhury asserted.
Chowdhury said the situation came under control soon after NSA Doval visited the violence-hit areas.
“Why could not the Home Minister go… NSA reports to the Prime Minister. Does this mean that the Prime Minister’s Office had lost faith in the home ministry,” Chowdhury said hitting out at Shah.
Chowdhury sought resignation of Shah, a demand echoed by Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress and NK Premchandran of RSP. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said there is a ‘tsunami of Hindutva hate’ and called for an impartial probe to find the brains behind the violence.
BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that some people are taking political benefit out of the incidents of violence.
Referring to the killing of IB officer Ankit Sharma during the riots, she said 400 wounds were found on his body. “What kind of hatred was this… we should discuss that also,” Lekhi said and added that the riots were pre-planned. “Every 10th home had catapults, which were used in the riots,” stated Lekhi.