Updated: March 5, 2020 10:45:24 am
Days after communal violence, the worst in decades, convulsed northeast Delhi, leaving at least 47 dead and more than 400 injured, the nation’s highest deliberative forum has not talked about it. The Narendra Modi government continues to resist and stonewall the Opposition’s demand to take up the issue of the Delhi riots in Parliament since it reconvened on Monday. Let’s talk after Holi, it says. This deferment should not be surprising, perhaps, given that the violence, and its costly toll, also point to the government’s own abdication, especially that of Delhi Police. But it is still chilling. That Parliament should be paralysed by a stand-off in this precarious moment, that attempts should be made to steer it towards business as usual, that a blind eye and a deaf ear should be turned, even if for now, to the destruction of life and property in the national capital — 79 houses destroyed completely by fire, 168 substantially damaged, 327 shops burnt, according to official estimates till Monday — is a continuing scandal. This is the time for the people’s representatives to look the crisis in the face, and to reach out to the anxious and fearful men and women who have been bruised and ravaged by the communal fires, with messages of sympathy, solidarity and support.
The communal violence in the national capital could leave behind more grievous damage than is visible in the scarred and scorched lanes and bylanes of northeast Delhi. While it raged, and in its aftermath, institutions appear to be failing the people. If Delhi Police, supervised by the Union Home Ministry, awoke to its responsibility far too late, the Delhi High Court gave in to the government’s insistence that the moment was not conducive for taking action against those who made hate speeches, stoked the fires — fortunately, the Supreme Court stepped in on Wednesday to roll back the month-long breather given to government and urged the High Court to hear the petitions related to the violence on Friday.
Now, the government must make it possible for Parliament to immediately open its doors, and talk about the violence that has taken such a high toll. To be sure, there will be fingerpointing but that’s unavoidable in the call for accountability which must be urgently heeded. It is also necessary to apply balm to wounds and to arrive at the course corrections that are needed to ensure that the conflagration does not overtake the capital again. By appearing to turn away from its responsibility, Parliament is only deepening the sense of political and institutional vacuum, on the other side of a dark abyss.
📣 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.