Updated: March 12, 2020 10:01:25 pm
Facing flak over his handling of the Delhi riots, which left over 50 dead and 200 injured, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said it is “condemnable to associate riots with my party, my ideology when facts state otherwise”.
Listing the riots that happened post-independence, Shah said it was not in the nature of the BJP to instigate riots but to check them. “We were in power only during the Gujarat riots. 76 per cent of the riots in the country took place in the country during Congress party rule,” Shah claimed while replying to a debate on the Delhi communal violence.
Shah reiterated his confidence in the city’s police force and said they were capable of containing the riots within time. The Delhi Police comes under the direct control of the Shah-led Ministry of Home Affairs.
Rejecting allegations that the Delhi riots were state sponsored, Shah asked the opposition to “use some common sense”. “Why will my government choose the same time for riots when the Prime Minister was hosting the US president, the most powerful man, in India for a state visit,” Shah further asked.
Shah also insisted that swift action will be taken against the culprits “irrespective of their caste, religious and political affiliations”, adding that over 700 FIRs have been registered and more than 2,600 people arrested based on evidence.
Those behind the killing of two Delhi policemen have been arrested, Shah said, adding that investigation into the conspiracy behind the riots will continue. Giving details, Shah said a detailed scrutiny of videos of the riots is being done and driving licence, voter ID data are being used in facial identification software. He said that no Supreme Court guideline on privacy has been violated and no Aadhaar data has been used.
He added that 1922 faces have been identified using facial identification software. The Home Minister further informed that 50 serious cases of murder, attacks on religious places, hospitals, and educational institutions being handed over to three SITs.
The Home Minister also took potshots at his colleagues in the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, accusing them of fear-mongering over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which, he said, has been wrongly accused of being discriminatory towards Muslims.
Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti-CAA riots in Delhi, also found mention in Shah’s speech. “Everyone has the right to peaceful protest. We acknowledge the democratic right of protesters,” he said. “Hate speeches started after the Citizenship Amendment Act to mislead Muslims. I want to assure the minorities of the country that no one’s citizenship will be taken away through this Act.”
On criticism by the Opposition against the transfer of former Delhi High Court judge Justice Muralidhar, hours after he ordered registration of FIRs against hate speeches made by BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Verma and Anurag Thakur, Shah said due process was followed and that it was a routine transfer done with the judge’s consent.
“Why doesn’t the Opposition has faith in other judges. What signal are you sending to our judiciary,” he questioned the Opposition which had raised the issue of Muralidhar’s “sudden transfer”.
“The government only issues the order of transfer. Recommendations are made by Collegium. So, this should not be linked to any particular case. It was a routine transfer. The consent of the judge is on record,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.