Delhi riots, again: India’s international image will take a beating

Read what TOI & ThePrint have to say! Douse Delhi fires before they spread! February 26, 2020, TOI Editorials Given below are two articles from the Times of India (TOI) and ThePrint, on DELHI RIOTS, to help CCV readers to take a balanced view on what is happening in the Capital of the largest Democracy, in the world!  

Twenty People Killed 

Writing on Delhi violence IndiaToday writes: Riot-hit Jafrabad is just 10km from India’s most secured area–the Raisina Hill, an area that houses Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, PMO and the defence and home ministrie. Twenty people, including a Delhi Police head constable, have died so far in the riots that broke out on Monday Nearly 150 were wounded and property–cars, homes, shops and a petrol pump–were set on fire amid heavy stone-pelting and violence that was unleashed on the streets of India’s national capital.

India  Shining?

All these are happening when India is showcasing India, the ‘shining India’ before the most powerful President Trump of USA! Two great leaders  spotlighted on stage are Trump and Modi showering tributes and their achievements in world’s top democracies! And the international press is buzz with reports on Delhi in total turmoil! Can the two great leaders fail to see and hear what is happening under their nose?

One paper says, Delhi burning is Amit Sha’s response to protesters against CAA (Citizen Amentment Act). What about Modi’s silence on the issue? Aren’t they united in planning and acting?

It is said “You learn management from mismanagement.” If that happens, without delay both countries can have a great future. Only what people want is a great present, a peaceful present!  james kottoor, editor ccv.

Please read below 2  articles on Delhi Riots!

On a day when US President Donald Trump hailed India’s unity, diversity, communal harmony, respect for rule of law and dignity of every human being, communal rioting in Delhi posed searching questions on all those fronts.

Delhi Police, in particular, has much to answer for. Woefully unprepared for the violence that raged across northeast Delhi, the police put some of its own personnel’s lives at risk by deploying too few men to take on rioters. Quite a few videos also pointed to partisan conduct by police.

Ominous signs were visible as early as Sunday noon when BJP leader Kapil Mishra led a mob supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act to confront anti-CAA protesters and both sides pelted stones in the hours following Mishra’s provocative remarks. At least ten lives have been lost and scores injured including journalists in the line of duty, because of Delhi Police’s monumental incompetence. At the first signs of trouble, a more professional police force would have intensified patrolling, convened peace committees and ramped up intelligence. Sadly, not in the national capital.

The Union home ministry, exercising administrative control over Delhi Police, cannot skirt responsibility. Despite several failures over the course of his blemished stint as police commissioner, it granted Amulya Patnaik an extension last month. The most ghastly among these saw students of famous campuses like JNU and Jamia coming under attack with police facing charges of omission and commission. Even yesterday, early media reports pointed to police missing in (in)action in some riot affected neighbourhoods. 

The spectre of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has always loomed uncomfortably over the capital city and for this reason many believed it would not permit another large-scale riot. More so on a day when India would like to showcase its capabilities as a leading democratic power. Politicians must introspect for this failure, which has shamed India before the world. Not only has Delhi Police been badly led, the role of politicians in sowing the current climate of discord, with incendiary rhetoric polarising communities and casting opponents as traitors, is reprehensible.

East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir has rightly demanded action against those making provocative remarks irrespective of party lines, including his party colleague Mishra. The Modi government must restore order in Delhi and correct the creeping distrust of state agencies in minority communities. The Supreme Court taking note of CAA’s discriminatory provisions would also help. 

(This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India. Times of India’s Edit Page team comprises senior journalists with wide-ranging interests who debate and opine on the news and issues of the day)

Also read another article below: “The Delhi pogrom 2020 is Amit Shah’s answer

to an election defeat” in ‘ThePrint” Feb.26, 2020

The violence was clearly orchestrated to end peaceful protests against Amit Shah’s 'chronology', SHIVAM VIJ 26 February, 2020

Union Home Minister Amit Shah | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrintUnion Home Minister Amit Shah | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police Rajesh Deo has told the Delhi High Court it has not seen the video of Kapil Mishra threatening violence in northeast Delhi. This one headline alone tells you everything you need to know about the violence in Delhi. 

Kapil Mishra is a BJP leader, the Delhi Police is run directly by Home Minister Amit Shah, the right-hand man of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kapil Mishra made his provocative speech in the presence of a senior Delhi Police officer, making it clear that he wanted his followers to take the law in their own hands.

The Delhi pogrom of 2020 is state-sponsored. Anyone who cannot see that is pretending to be blind. In numerous accounts, videos and photos, we see the Delhi Police purportedly aiding and abetting the violence, either by looking away or actually participating in it.

A Delhi Police constable has been killed, as has an Intelligence Bureau official. The 24 dead (so far) include people from both religions — but more Muslims. When mass violence is provoked against a community, the community strikes back in defence. That’s how it becomes a riot, spun as an ‘equal fight’ between two sides. Both are then blamed. But the truth is that it is primarily Muslims who have been targeted, Muslim shops burnt, a cemetery desecrated, a mosque taken over, pages of the Quran burnt, and so on.

What was the purpose of this violence? First, it was to prevent the scaling up of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests. The women sitting in Seelampur, a Muslim-dominated slum area, rightly felt it was no use sitting there. Shaheen Bagh got attention by virtue of being in south Delhi, even though it is in a Muslim-dominated area. But Seelampur? It was like speaking to themselves.

Responding to a Bharat Bandh call by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, the women decided to move their protest to a road underneath the Jaffrabad metro station Saturday night. This blocked a road. Unless you block a main road, how do you get the attention of the mainstream? This is not the first time a road has been blocked by a group of protesting people.

But BJP’s Kapil Mishra said the blocking of a road was somehow a matter serious enough for people to take law in their own hands. He demanded that the road be cleared in both Jaffrabad and nearby Chand Bagh.

New Delhi: Rioters set ablaze a shop during clashes between those against and those supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in at Gokalpuri in north east Delhi, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 | PTIRioters set ablaze a shop during riots in north east Delhi, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020 | PTI

The Jaffrabad model of silencing dissent

What unfolded then was a clear diabolical plan. Make it look like a ‘clash’ between “pro-” and “anti-” CAA protesters. The clash goes violent. Muslims provoked and forced to respond in self-defence. It looks like a riot. Use the violence as an excuse to clear the anti-CAA protests — the peaceful and democratic anti-CAA protests.

When the Jaffrabad protest site was cleared, a top BJP-RSS leader declared victory. B.L. Santhosh is the BJP’s general secretary (organisation), a post reserved for the RSS representative. Here was his tweet just as news came in of the Jaffrabad site being cleared: 

Similarly, the Chand Bagh protest site nearby was also cleared. This is a model that could well be applied soon to other protest sites, Shaheen Bagh and others, in Delhi and elsewhere. We saw a trailer of this in some BJP-ruled states earlier: Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, even in Jamia area in Delhi. In the Jamia Millia Islamia violence, the excuse of a burnt bus was used to beat up students even inside the university library. The idea is to use violence to create a consensus that the anti-CAA protesters are violent Islamists.

At the heart of this debate is also a claim to public space. Section 144 does not seem to apply to state-backed mobs. The police provides them security or stands by. But for anti-CAA protesters, all the laws come down heavily on them, preventing them from protesting.

Reply from Amit Shah

The BJP’s calculation about the CAA-NRC-NPR laws was that people will take them lying down, with the same sense of defeat and surrender with which they accepted the dilution of Article 370, verdict on Ram Mandir and so on.

Taken aback, the BJP thought the protests would fizzle out in weeks. When the protesters, who could not even be discredited as opposition-backed, found an ‘occupy’ model led by women, the BJP thought it might actually help it polarise people on Hindu-Muslim lines. So, for instance, a Delhi BJP MP, the foul-mouthed Parvesh Verma, said of Shaheen Bagh protesters last month that they might enter people’s homes and rape women.

Such attempts at hatemongering did not succeed, as the Delhi election got the BJP only eight of the 70 seats, and the rise in vote-share was marginal.The anti-CAA/NPR/NRC or ‘Chronology’   

protests, not even good for polarisation, are now a nuisance to the Narendra Modi government, which does not like dissent. It doesn’t want people speaking up against the threat of being made stateless through ‘Chronology’ laws. It is likely now that the ‘Chronology’ protests everywhere could face similar violence.

The northeast Delhi pogrom of 2020 serves another purpose. It is Amit Shah’s way of reminding everyone that the Delhi election results mean nothing, and that Arvind Kejriwal is a nobody. Kapil Mishra is Amit Shah’s answer to the Delhi electorate. It’s his way of saying who’s boss. It’s a catharsis of the anger of the defeat of Delhi.(The author is contributing editor to ThePrint. Views are personal.ThePrint is now on  Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.)

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