A year on, Delhi riot victims await justice | HT Editorial
After 1984, Delhi pledged never again. The national Capital has still not been able to heal the wounds left behind by the anti-Sikh violence after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The fact that the State apparatus did not perform its role in maintaining order, and was actually seen as encouraging the perpetrators of violence (or being completely incapable of dealing with them), set the template, off and on, for similar events witnessed over the past three-and-a-half decades.
Last year, the Capital saw its most horrific violence after 36 years. Coming in the wake of a prolonged agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, a polarised election campaign, and a deep trust deficit between Hindus and Muslims, it took place even as United States President Donald Trump was visiting India. It took days for the national security apparatus to restore order. And it exposed, yet again, the dangerous combination of extreme political rhetoric and sub-optimal law enforcement.
India has learnt little from past riots. The investigation into the riots has been criticised for being partisan — where it is mostly the critics of the central government who find themselves being scrutinised, arrested and charged even as those pledging allegiance to the ruling party at the Centre appear to have escaped legal accountability. Delhi, and India can’t afford that. There has to be an independent examination of what happened last February and the law will have to take its course without considering political affiliations and victims will have to be provided justice. If that doesn’t happen, the wounds of 2020, like those of 1984, may remain open.