The walkout by the Congress during the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Delhi riots indicated the general attitude of the Opposition on the subject. It became clear from the speeches of many opposition leaders that their primary purpose was not to understand what caused the riots and how similar incidents could be prevented in the future, but to ensure the rift was widened within communities for future electoral profit. In fact, the speech by AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi was among the few nuanced and hard-hitting ones, which articulated the concerns of the common person, particularly the Muslims, over the disturbances and deaths.
Although the reason for the discussion to be held after Holi was stated to be a ‘cooling of tempers’ during festival time by Home Minister Amit Shah, the delay gave the Government and Delhi Police the extra bit of time to gather more information that could enlighten the nation better. And, indeed, owing to modern technology, the raw data collected is considerable. All kinds of material, including that provided by ordinary folk, such as video footage and that available on social media, has been collected and is being analysed. It is expected that whosever is taken to court will have a strong case made out against him or her, which even the archaic judicial system will be able to quickly understand and process.
Home Minister Shah rightly condemned the demands made by some that those killed be identified on the basis of their religion, as also the one-sided narrative that many have been pushing, and insisted on describing the victims as ‘Bharatiye’. It was also surprising to witness the reluctance of the opposition to consider the conspiracy angle in the riots. There has been evidence collected of preparations made over a month ago. The timing of the violence, when President Trump was in India, also indicates its actual purpose. The unwillingness of the opposition leaders even to consider this reveals their single-minded focus on pushing the anti-BJP narrative at the cost of the nation’s interest. In fact, it was shocking to see greater concern expressed at the opinions of people in other countries, as though it was more tragic than the deaths.
The incidents in Delhi should not be seen as the usual communal riot that erupts because of some local flashpoint – they were as much a threat to national security owing to their location. Foreign agents should be denied such capability. Action should be taken against the perpetrators far more effectively than any time in the past. The BJP’s sincerity in this regard will become known if the cases pass the test of judicial scrutiny.