Parties target BJP, Shah says guilty will not be spared
Thursday’s firing outside Jamia Millia University triggered a political row with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress and the Left parties training guns at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging the law and order situation in Delhi had “collapsed” under the party.
The BJP hit back, saying Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was trying to “wash his hands of all responsibilities”. It linked the incident with the Shaheen Bagh protests and accused AAP and the Congress of “funding” protestors who have been agitating are on an agitation have continued their demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act since December 15.
Hours after the incident, home minister Shah said the Centre would not tolerate such incidents. “I have spoken with Delhi Police Commissioner about the firing and directed him to take strict action against the accused. The central government will not tolerate any such incident. The guilty will not be spared,” Shah tweeted.
Responding to Shah’s remarks, Kejriwal tweeted: “What is happening in Delhi? The law and order situation is getting worse. I request you to do something about it.”
In another tweet, the home minister said the investigation had been entrusted with the Delhi Police’s Special Commissioner and he would probe the case in “entirety”.
AAP leaders demanded Shah’s resignation and a police case against union minister Anurag Thakur, who has faced the Election Commission’s flak over controversial sloganeering at a public gathering earlier this week.
In a press conference, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said, “After Amit Shah took over as union home minister [June 2019], Delhi has witnessed situations like nine murders within 24 hours, clash between lawyers and the police and attack on university students. And now the latest incident proves that the law and order situation in the city has collapsed under Amit Shah.”
He said, “The BJP is creating a riot-like situation in Delhi ahead of elections. They are trying to destroy peace in Delhi and instigate violence. It reflects that they have already accepted defeat in the polls. We demand the resignation of Amit Shah and FIR against Anurag Thakur under provisions of the Indian Penal Code.”
The AAP’s national spokesperson Ajoy Kumar accused Delhi Police of being a “mute spectator”.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the incident was the result of BJP ministers and leaders inciting crowds with incendiary slogans. “When ministers in the BJP government and leaders provoke people to shoot and give provocative speeches, then such incidents are possible. The prime minister should answer what kind of Delhi he wants to build. Is he standing with violence or non-violence. Is he standing with development or anarchy,” she asked in a tweet in Hindi.
Speaking at news conference at the party headquarters in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “What happened in Jamia Millia Islamia university is a live manifestation of this spectre of hate and terror that has been perpetrated across this country by the NDA-BJP government, especially since the end of the winter session of Parliament.”
The Congress’s Delhi chief Subhash Chopra said, “What kind of police force is Amit Shah running? Delhi police can be seen acting as a mute spectator while a man shot at peaceful protesters in full police presence. Is this what BJP leaders like Anurag Thakur intended when they endorsed communal slogans in public? They are creating an armed militia of radicalised youth. It is a shameful act of the BJP on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.”
CPI general secretary D Raja said the incident is a “direct result” of the inflammatory comments made by BJP leaders. “The Jamia firing incident is a direct result of provocative statements made by BJP leaders during campaigning in Delhi. BJP leader Anurag Thakur should be arrested for his comments urging crowds to raise slogan of shoot the traitors,” Raja said.
Responding to the allegations, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and former Delhi unit chief Vijay Goel said: “They (AAP and Congress) are funding the protest at Shaheen Bagh and now they are blaming us for instigating violence. It is strange that the chief minister of Delhi wash his hand of all responsibilities. He doesn’t visit Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University after the violence. His party is incited violence. It seems he is the CM of his party and not the city. It is very easy to blame the police and Centre. Why is he not going and talking to protesters?” (with PTI inputs)