New Delhi, Feb 27 (KMS): The murderous violence and arson in Northeast Delhi since Sunday have claimed 28 lives, left over 250 people injured, and the homes, shops, vehicles and livelihoods of hundreds destroyed.
All this happened in India’s capital right through the visit of US President Donald Trump who, ironically, paid tributes to the country’s democracy, diversity, culture of tolerance and peace.
Indeed, the ominous signs were visible on Sunday itself, on the eve of Trump’s arrival in India, when BJP politician Kapil Mishra issued a chilling threat to Muslim women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Maujpur area. With police officials standing beside him, Mishra declared openly that he would do nothing until Trump was in town but as soon as the visiting dignitary left on Tuesday, he would organise a Hindu mob and drive out the protesters. In the event, the mobs did not even wait for Tuesday. The attacks began hours later on Sunday itself. And for three days, Delhi Police stood by, or worse, as Delhi burned.

The hate-filled violence, which has rekindled the horrific memories of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, was perhaps waiting to happen for several weeks since the “desh ke gaddaron ko…” and “they will barge into your houses and rape your daughters and kill your sons” dog whistles were sounded during the Delhi Assembly election campaign, Deccan Herald reported.

That Delhi Police, which functions under the Union Home Ministry, did not deploy adequate personnel, take out flag marches or attempt to stop the marauding mobs in their tracks, even when people were being beaten up right in front of them, cannot be put down to a failure of intelligence or failure to anticipate events, or even to a lack of adequate forces, especially after Mishra’s open declaration.
But then, Delhi Police has lost all credibility after the recent events at JNU, Jamia Milia, etc.

Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, who was recently granted extension of tenure by the Modi government, was neither seen nor heard these past three days.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah declared that the violence was “spontaneous.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintained total silence on the events and belatedly appealed for calm only on Wednesday, after most of the damage was done. For peace and calm to return and for the people of Northeast Delhi, many of whom are now leaving the place where they have lived for years, to have confidence in the police and government, Delhi Police could start by identifying those who indulged in violence and bringing them to justice. It won’t be difficult to do so because there is enough evidence from CCTV cameras, news photos and footage. It does require political will, though.

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