Home Minister Amit Shah (Photo Credit: Twitter/ANI)
Vowing not to spare anyone involved in the Delhi violence irrespective of their religion, caste or party affiliation, Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said in Lok Sabha it will be a lesson for the country on what befalls those who indulge in rioting. Replying to a discussion in the lower house on the Delhi riots, Shah said the violence was "prima facie a pre-planned conspiracy".
Despite opposition's criticism over the alleged inaction of the Delhi Police during the violence last month, Shah appreciated the force for controlling the riots within 36 hours and said the steps taken by the police ensured that the violence was "limited to a geographical area" and did not spiral.
He said that a total of 2,647 people have been detained or arrested in these riots. About 700 FIRs were filed, 152 weapons used in violence seized so far and 49 cases lodged under Arms Act, he informed the House.
A case of conspiracy was filed after looking at how the riots spread in such a short span of time, Shah said, adding that more than 300 people apparently came from Uttar Pradesh.
Shah informed Lok Sabha that the government has fed details of voter identity cards and driving licences of people into a software to identify those involved in the Delhi violence. He said facial recognition technology has so far identified 1,100 people. Out of them, over 300 had come from Uttar Pradesh to apparently create violence in northeast Delhi.
“We will spare no one irrespective of their religion, caste and political affiliation. Such action will be taken that it will be a lesson for the country on what befalls those who indulge in rioting," he said.
Responding to the opposition's criticism on not visiting riot-affected areas, Shah said he didn't want to divert the attention of Delhi police at such a sensitive time.
“I did not go to the ground because I did not want the police to get distracted and divert their resources for my security,” he said.
Shah also said he didn't attend various events related to US President Donald Trump's visit to Delhi as he was busy with Delhi police in formulating strategy to control the violence.
He attended Trump's event at Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, as it was preplanned and it was in his constituency. Shah said it was on his request that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited the riot-affected areas to raise morale of the Delhi police.
Taking on the opposition, Shah said the government wanted a discussion on the Delhi violence in parliament after Holi to avoid communal flare up during festival time, but some have other priorities.
Giving details of the casualties due to riots, Shah said, "52 Indians lost their lives during the violence". Unlike the opposition, Shah said he doesn't want to name how many Hindus or Muslims died.
“I won't give figures in Hindu-Muslim. 52 Indians have died, 526 Indians have been injured. Shops of 371 Indians were set ablaze and houses of 142 Indians were burned,” he said.
While Shah was speaking, the Congress walked out in protest. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said the opposition party earlier demanded a debate on the issue and now it was walking out, which showed it was not serious on the issue of Delhi violence.
Without mentioning the Congress, Shah said an opposition leader at a party rally on February 24 gave the call for "aar paar ki ladai" and asked "wasn't it a hate speech". He was apparently referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
He also attacked AIMIM Assadudin Owaisi for his party leader Waris Pathans controversial remarks at a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Strongly defending CAA, he said there were more than 25 laws drafted on the basis of religion, while CAA doesn't discriminate with anyone.
He also said that 76 per cent of riot related deaths so far have been under the Congress rule and the party had "no moral right to question us". He cited the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the controversial statement made by a Congress leader to attack the opposition party.
Coming down heavily on the Centre over "failure" to contain violence in Delhi, the opposition in Lok Sabha on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah, but the BJP alleged a conspiracy behind the riots and sought to blame anti-CAA protests for the situation.
Ruling and opposition members traded charges over alleged hate speeches by leaders before the outbreak of violence. Defending the government, the BJP members said the home minister and authorities took pro-active steps to control the situation.
Initiating the discussion on "recent law and order situation in some parts of Delhi", Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wondered how violence continued for three days despite the fact that Delhi Police is one of the best equipped in the country.
"The Home Minister (Amit Shah) will have to explain," he said.
Hitting out at the prime minister, he said, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. When Delhi was witnessing violence, Modi was hosting US President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad, the Congress leader said.
Chowdhury said while some claimed Hindus won, the others said Muslims won in the violence. "The fact is that humanity was defeated," he said. He said the situation came under control soon after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited the violence-hit areas.
"Why could not the Home Minister go... NSA reports to the Prime Minister. Does this mean that the Prime Minister's Office had lost faith in the home ministry," Chowdhury said, hitting out at Shah.
Chowdhury alleged that Delhi High Court judge S Muralidhar was transferred out as he had questioned the failure of the Delhi Police in containing the violence.
(With PTI inputs)