Amid Delhi violence, Home Minister Amit Shah cancels visit to Kerala
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has cancelled his visit to Thiruvananthapuram scheduled for Wednesday. The decision to cancel the visit comes against the backdrop of the continuing violence in north-east Delhi that has killed 13 people so far. The Union Home Ministry, however, did not comment or ascribe a reason for the change in Amit Shah’s schedule for the day.
Amit Shah had spent most of Monday in Gujarat in connection with the visit of US President Donald Trump to Ahmedabad. He rushed back to Delhi late on Monday evening and held a late-night meeting with top officials of the security establishment that went beyond midnight.
“The Home Minister was to reach Delhi late yesterday. However, the special flight flew out hours ahead of the scheduled departure,” a senior MHA official who didn’t want to be named said.
On Tuesday noon, he reviewed the situation again with Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. This time, he invited Delhi politicians including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to get them on board with efforts to make a joint effort. At this meeting, Kejriwal reported the feedback that he had received from lawmakers from north-east delhi about the less than adequate presence of police men. And police officers on the ground, Kejriwal complained, were often not equipped or empowered to take decisions and appeared to be waiting for instructions from superiors.
Amit Shah nudged all political parties to work towards and formation of “peace committees” comprising eminent citizens and political party representatives to reach out to people in the violence-affected parts and neighbouring areas.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also asked all “political parties to avoid provocative speeches and statements,” the Union Home Ministry said in a statement.
The borders of Delhi with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been under surveillance for the last three days and Delhi Police has been taking adequate steps, like checks and other precautionary measures in view of the upcoming Supreme Court hearing relating to issues pertaining to Citizenship Law, the Home Ministry said in a statement.
Although initial assessments indicated that Delhi Police was outnumbered by the mob, the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik denied that Delhi police faced a shortage of manpower leading to the riots spiralling out. “We have enough manpower and total support of the government,” he said.
“We have all agreed to rise above politics and ensure the situation is brought under control,” Manoj Tiwari Delhi BJP chief who attended the meeting told reporters after the meeting.
Senior Delhi Congress Subash Chopra who attended the meeting said “inflammatory statements by political figures triggered the violence. These need to stop if the situation is to be controlled. “ Chopra was referring to statements of Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra.