Who is responsible for the ongoing violence in Delhi? The protestors, or the police, or the politicians, or the provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), or the people?
Since the start of the Shaheen Bagh protest on December 14, 2019 when women blocked the Kalindi Kunj Road, a six-lane highway, we are seeing a complete failure of police machinery in Delhi.
But are the police responsible for this failure or we are also responsible for their failure along with our politicians? According to me, the police can’t be the only ones held responsible for this as they always do whatever they are asked to do and follow orders. Then, questions shift on the authorities: are they are the ones who are responsible for this?
If we talk about the Home Ministry or the Centre, or even about the Delhi LG, surely, their ways of handling different protests differently is very surprising.
The BJP tried to take advantage of Shaheen Bagh and its leaders made several communal speeches for which they were reprimanded by the Election Commission and after an electoral defeat, Amit Shah and Manoj Tiwari said that hate speeches by their leaders cost them the election. But, despite being in damage control mode, no one from the BJP tried to resolve the issue.
No one from BJP whose job it is to give hourly press statements tried to visit and discuss the concerns of the citizens in northeast Delhi’s affected areas.
Now, from February 22, one more anti-CAA protest started near the Jaffrabad metro station which blocked the road between Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. On February 23, BJP leader Kapil Mishra called a pro-CAA rally at the Maujpur red light, which led to stone-pelting and Mishra giving an ultimatum to the Delhi Police.
In the presence of the North-East District DCP Ved Prakash Surya, Mishra said that he will not listen to the police if the road between Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh is not cleared within three days. He added that he will remain silent till US President Trump is in India – but not after that.
After that on Monday, violence erupted in northeast Delhi. A Delhi Police Head Constable, Ratan Lal, died, several others allegedly got injured, and according to reports, Shahdara DCP Amit Sharma lost consciousness.
ACP Anuj Kumar was hurt, petrol pumps were set on fire, a person identified as Shahrukh, a local of Maujpur, was seen firing at the police, 5 metro stations were shut, shops were burnt and Section 144 was imposed in northeast Delhi.
On Tuesday, February 25, the Delhi Police confirmed the death of 7 people including a policeman. Again, fresh violence erupted in the affected area and many more people were injured.
The videos don’t seem to be that of the national capital, it seems that as if it is a scene straight out of a Taliban-impacted area – a man carrying a gun, firing in front of the police, roads full of stones which were pelted. Police officers being dragged out of the car and thrashed, cars burning, shops burning, all in an attack based on religious lines.
So, the administrative machinery has completely failed. It is surprising that Amit Shah, who controls the Delhi Police, is not able to regulate the riot-like situation.
Meanwhile, today, the Supreme Court gave a fresh date of March 23 for the hearing on the violence as well as Shaheen Bagh, after receiving the interlocutors’ reports.
The truth is that we as a society have failed, there is a lack of trust and leaders like Kapil Mishra exist – who try to take benefit of the situation to score personal goals. Perhaps he aims to become a bigger Purvanchali face in the BJP than Manoj Tiwari!
We need to understand that protesting peacefully is a democratic right, but in no way can it become violent. There is no place for violent protest the same way there is no place for hate speech and communalism.
We should refrain from sharing unconfirmed videos or WhatsApp messages as our one silly mistake can cost someone’s life. The police and the judiciary must punish the culprits. We, on our own, should not be hurting anyone, instead, we should expect that the police will take strict action against the wrongdoers.
Yet, at the same time, our motive should be to maintain peace and harmony. No ill information or misinformation regarding the provisions of CAA or NRC should be spread. The police are working, the man who fired his gun has already been arrested which reflects faith in the system.
Also, we should not give importance to hate speech. Not to forget that it is the same Kapil Mishra who first unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the Kejriwal government (if we believe this report by The Hindu) to become CM. It may well be that he is now trying to replace Manoj Tiwari. We must not allow someone to settle their personal goals by misusing our emotions.
Trump is soon going back to the USA and the Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi CM Kejriwal are scheduled to meet. Let’s hope for a fruitful result and a peaceful Delhi.