“A modern Delhi cannot be built over graves of its people,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday as the death toll continued to rise in the violence that has engulfed the city’s northeast areas.
Reading out a list of names of those killed in the clashes, Kejriwal said the loss is everyone’s. “Hindus died, Muslims died, cops also died. Who benefited by the riots?” he said while addressing the Assembly. “Rahul Solanki has died. He was a Hindu. Zakir has died. He was Muslim,” he said, accusing “anti-social elements” of instigating violence for their personal gains.
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“People of Delhi do not want violence. All this has not been done by the aam aadmi. This has been done by some anti-social, political and external elements. Hindus and Muslims in Delhi never want to fight,” he said.
The chief minister also urged people of all religions to come forward and “reject this politics of hate”. “We will not tolerate the politics of hate and riots. Now, the whole of Delhi has to stand together and assert that they will not tolerate the politics that pitches brothers against each other.”
“सारे धर्म के लोगों एक साथ खड़े होने का वक़्त आ गया हैं। हम सबको एक साथ खड़े होने की ज़रूरत है।
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) February 26, 2020
Under fire for its belated response to the incident, Kejriwal assured that his government has been working day and night to contain the situation. “I want to assure each and every citizen of Delhi that the government will extend all possible help. We will work for peace in the city and will take every necessary step for the people of Delhi,” he said.
He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the family of Delhi police head constable Rattan Lal who was among the 27 killed in the clashes. “We will not let his sacrifice go in vain,” he said, appealing for calm.
Kejriwal, along with Delhi Chief Secretary will visit the violence-affected areas following the Delhi High Court order that ‘the CM and Deputy CM should also visit the affected areas for confidence-building among people.’
The chief minister reiterated that the army should be called to bring the situation in control after the Ministry of Home Affairs, which controls public order and police in the national capital, declined the need for additional deployment. Home minister Amit Shah had expressed confidence in Delhi Police and officials ruled out calling the Army.
Earlier in the day, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reached out to locals and assured them the situation is under control. “Situation is totally under control. People are satisfied. I have confidence in law enforcement agencies. Police are doing its work,” he said after visiting the affected areas in northeast Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also called for peace. In a series of tweets posted Wednesday, Modi appealed to his “brothers and sisters” to maintain “peace and brotherhood” at all times, and said it was important to restore “calm and normalcy” at the earliest.
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