‘No one will be spared for crimes during riots’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 11, 2020

Home Minister Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Wednesday   -  PTI

We will take strong steps against anyone for any involvement: Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha

Dismissing Opposition charges of his inaction during Delhi riots of February 23-26, Home Minister Amit Shah said “no one will be spared” for crimes committed during the rioting.

Rejecting the demand for his resignation, the Home Minister mounted a counter-attack on the Congress saying, “They are saying I did not issue an appeal for peace. I did. And at least I did not say that ‘when a big tree falls, the earth shakes’. Over 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in 1984 and no one was booked till the BJP government was formed.”

He was referring to the comment by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on the attack on Sikhs which followed the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

On Wednesday, replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Delhi riots, Shah said the police have been active and expressed regret that places of worship were damaged and lives were lost. “We will take strong steps against anyone for any involvement. No one will be spared. It is a matter of regret that temples and mosques were desecrated. It is a matter of regret when any place of worship, be it a church, a gurudwara, a mosque or a temple is desecrated and human lives and property is destroyed,” he said.

However, amid walkout by several Congress MPs, Shah said that 76 per cent of communal riots in the country have taken place under Congress tenure.

“Riots are a matter of regret and I do not want to pass on the blame but for those who have been targeting us, let me recall just one statistic — 76 per cent of the communal riots have taken place under Congress regimes,” said the Home Minister.

During the debate, the government and especially the Home Minister came under heavy attack from the Opposition for the communal riots that have claimed over 50 lives so far. The BJP members, however, alleged that the violence was a pre-planned conspiracy and the Home Minister and authorities took pro-active steps to control the situation.

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. He hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and alluded that , ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned’ referring to Modi hosting US President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad during the violence in Delhi.

Chowdhury said while some claimed Hindus won, the others said Muslims won in the violence. “The fact is that humanity was defeated,” he said.

He said the situation came under control soon after National Security Advisor Ajit 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 asked, hitting out at Shah.

Chowdhury alleged that Delhi High Court judge S Muralidhar was transferred out as he had questioned the failure of the Delhi Police in containing the violence. He said the “midnight” notification was to preempt strictures against the government.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said the transfer was recommended by the Supreme Court collegium and the government had nothing to do with it. Chowdhury sought the resignation of Shah, a demand echoed by TMC’s Saugata Roy and N K Premchandran of RSP. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said there is a “tsunami of Hindutva hate” and called for an impartial probe to find the perpetrators of the violence.

Some of his remarks evoked sharp response from the Treasury benches, with at least two Union ministers — Ravi Shankar Prasad and Kishan Reddy — registering their protests. Speaker Om Birla also expunged certain remarks made by Owaisi.

Published on March 11, 2020

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