Updated: March 13, 2020 6:50:33 am
Alleging that the riots in Delhi were an outcome of a deep-rooted conspiracy, Home Minister Amit Shah assured Rajya Sabha on Thursday that “the guilty will not be spared, irrespective of their community, religion or party affiliation”.
Apparently referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s address at the Bharat Bachao rally at Delhi on December 14, he said, “I want to tell everyone what happened before the recent riots. There was no Shaheen Bagh before December 14. On December 14, it was said at a rally that ‘aar paar ki ladai kariye; nahi niklenge toh kayar kehlaenge’. After that on Decemeber 15, Shaheen Bagh protest happened… the protests happened for the first time. They were not communal riots but a tussle between police and protesters.” He mentioned speeches by several other people and added, “…starting from here, the anti-CAA protest slowly converted into communal riots.”
The Union Home Minister said that since Independence, “my party and ideology are being tried to be linked to riots”. He then claimed that “76 per cent of the deaths” in riots took place under Congress governments. He said he was certain that the Congress governments “must have tried to stop” the riots and added that “it was condemnable to link riots to my party and ideology”.
Defending the Delhi Police, which has been criticised for its role during the violence, he said, “Accuse me and not Delhi Police”. He said 4 per cent of the area and 13 per cent of the population of Delhi were affected by the riots. “In such a charged atmosphere, I want to say that they have restricted the violence to 4 per cent of the area and 13 per cent of the population and that’s the success of Delhi Police.” He also credited Delhi Police with bringing the violence under control in 36 hours.
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Responding to questions raised by the Opposition regarding the transfer of the Delhi High Court judge after he pulled up the Delhi Police over its inaction in filing FIRs against the BJP leaders who made hate speeches, Shah said, “The country should know that the government only gives the order for transfer, it is recommended by the Collegium under the Chief Justice of India.”
He said the recommendation came by February 12 and the judge’s consent had also been taken. Only the Executive order was issued that day, Shah said.
Rejecting charges that the riots were “state-sponsored”, he said, “Why would any government engineer such violence when the world’s most powerful person” was being hosted. The government was hosting US President Donald Trump at the that time.
More than 700 FIRs have been registered in connection with the violence and 2,647 people arrested, he said.
The Home Minister also denied that Aadhaar Data was used to identify rioters though facial recognition. This came in response to TMC MP Derek O’Brien remark on the Home Minister’s statement in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
“We understand that police need facial recognition to do their job for national security. But are you using technology to identify people in a crowd? Did you admit yesterday on the floor of the House that people’s personal data is being used to identify them?,” O’Brien said.
“Avoiding privacy breaches is something I honour. I am saying on the record that Aadhaar data was not used for this. I also want to say, that someone’s life was taken, someone’s house was lit on fire, and what are you talking about privacy for? Police have the authority that whoever did these riots, they should be taken systematically in front of God. We did not breach any Supreme Court guideline in this. We did not breach any privacy,” Shah said in Rajya Sabha. He added that the facial recognition technology used data from driving licence and voter ID to identify the rioters.
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