Arvind Kejriwal blames ‘outsiders’, ‘politics of hate’ for violence; visits riot-hit localities
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday blamed “outsiders”, and “political and anti-social elements” for the riots that rocked Delhi over the past three days and urged the Union home minister to bring in the army if needed and impose curfew in all violence-hit areas in north-east Delhi.
Speaking in the Assembly, Kejriwal urged people to “reject the politics of hate” and said neither the Hindus nor the Muslims have benefited from the violence. To prove his point, the chief minister read out names of the deceased along with their religion including that of the police and of those injured.
His remarks came at a time when he has been criticised for not intervening in the days since the violence began. On Wednesday, he finally visited some of the stricken areas for the first time.
As many as 27 people have died so far in the riots that occurred in northeast Delhi and over 300 have been injured.
“I want to show who faced losses from the riots. Everyone lost. More than 20 people have died. Veer Bhan died, he was a Hindu. Mohammad Mubarak died, he was a Muslim. Parvesh died, he was a Hindu. Zakir was a Muslim. Rahul Solanki was a Hindu, Mohammad Furqaan a Muslim and Rahul Thakur was a Hindu. Maut toh dono ki ho gayi – Hindu’o ki bhi ho gayi, Musalmano ki bhi ho gayi, aur policewalon ki bhi ho gayi (Hindus, Muslims and policemen – all have died),” Kejriwal said.
After the Assembly session, Kejriwal along with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, and Aam Aadmi Party leaders Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai met Satish Golcha, special commissioner of police at the office of the DCP in north-east Delhi. After meeting the policemen, the chief minister went to Maujpur and Shiv Vihar to talk to the residents and affected families.
Earlier, addressing the newly elected MLAs in the House for the first time, Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that the Delhi government will give ₹1 crore to martyred head constable Ratan Lal’s family and a job to a next of kin in his administration. “Our own brother, head constable Ratan Lal was martyred not for saving a Hindu or a Muslim. He was martyred for saving the country,” he said.
The chief minister further said that Rahul Solanki had gone to bring milk when he died in the riots. “If you go and tell his mother that ‘don’t worry, we have killed 10 Muslims and taken revenge of your son’s death’, will she care? ” he said.
While explaining to the House that he and all AAP MLAs did everything possible within their powers to restore peace and rescue people in the affected areas, Kejriwal said police deployment, “despite their best efforts”, was “inadequate” on many occasions.
“In my understanding, the police tried a lot to bring the situation under control… But, many times when we were talking to the lower rung police personnel they said they had ‘no orders from above’ on whether to take action or not. Many videos were also viral that some policemen were helping anti-social elements. Action should be taken against them,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister said he was closely monitoring the violence-hit areas and the requirement of doctors and beds to treat the victims, while AAP MLAs and volunteers carried out peace marches. Several MLAs such as Vishesh Ravi of Karol Bagh tied up with local Aman committee members to hold meetings with the residents asking them to be wary of messages and videos on social media and messaging apps.
On Tuesday, Kejriwal attended a meeting called by Union home minister Amit Shah and requested that borders of the Capital be sealed. A day later, Aam Aadmi Party leaders Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai questioned the Centre for not sealing the borders. The two AAP leaders also questioned Shah for not visiting the riot-hit areas or issuing any statement urging people to maintain peace.
Kejriwal on Wednesday morning also wrote to Shah demanding deployment of the Army and a curfew in all sensitive areas.
The chief minister started his speech by saying the world has been watching two pictures of Delhi over the last three days – one, of the first lady of the United States Melania Trump visiting a Delhi government school and appreciating the happiness curriculum. The other of the riots.
“Today, Delhi’s people have two options – one is to stand united and build a beautiful future for each other irrespective of religion and caste. The second is to kill each other and count the corpses. A modern Delhi cannot be built on the foundation of corpses. It can be built only on the foundation of schools, water, roads, power, and health,” Kejriwal said.