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Unfortunately, for minorities in India, any claim for the sharing of power by the minority is called communalism while the monopolizing of the whole power by the majority is called nationalism…B R Ambedkar
By Bureau Chief, Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO: Less than a week since the state-sponsored genocide that rocked Delhi, incited by RSS/BJP leaders criminally state-sponsored crime, pervasive and deliberate campaigns of hate which transformed ordinary folks, petty criminals, into a mob of mass murderers. February 23-26 subsided, the minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah walked into Parliament smiling, for the first day of the Budget session, on March 2. Amit Shah was also in West Bengal, a day before that to launch his election campaign, with a round of hate-filled speeches. Amit Shah had during the genocide, supervised the utter devastation to human life and property that North East Delhi witnessed, after decades. Amit Shah expressed no remorse over it, speaking nothing about it. Amit Shah is a home minister despite having served jail time in 2010. He was cleared of charges in 2014 under extremely suspicious circumstances, where the judge hearing the case, Justice Brijgopal Harikishan Loya was mysteriously eliminated.
In another part of the country, prime minister Narendra Modi, was b-romancing visiting US President Donald Trump, while Delhi burned. Narendra Modi is no stranger to genocide, having presided over one, in Gujarat in 2002, which had killed over 3000 Muslims. As the chief minister, Narendra Modi had given a free hand to the police and the Hindutva goons then to massacre the Muslims, while the army Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah, PVSM, SM, VSM waited with his troops in the sidelines for orders to move in. Narendra Modi never stood trial for it, despite damning evidence against him. Narendra Modi tweeted three days after the genocide was well underway in Delhi, to maintain peace. Narendra Modi shut off discussions, on his government’s accountability towards the genocide by tweeting about possibilities of his leaving social media instead where he has millions of followers, half of them fake. Narendra Modi’s moment of glory with Trump US was eclipsed by painful cries of men, women, and children being burned and killed, on the same day as the first lady Melania Trump visited a Delhi government school.
Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are responsible for keeping India and it’s capital Delhi safe and they failed, miserably so. In full view of the world media. India’s reputation as a secular, robust democracy lay in tatters, as images of an authoritarian, failed state, was splashed everywhere. “Jo Hua So Hua” whatever happened, happened, as mouthed by the chief of National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, to a grieving victim, seems to be the guiding force behind those who need to fix accountability for the genocide instead.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had got a resounding victory for the second time, just days before, was reduced to a helpless mess, frozen into silence, at the shocking turn of events.
Skirmishes broke out on the very first of the assembly of the new government. Arvind Kejriwal was shown by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, that he may have won the elections, but the real power rests with them.
Arvind Kejriwal was severely restricted by a lack of control over the two critical state subjects, Police and Law and Order under the state government. Arvind Kejriwal, the elected chief minister was therefore reduced to begging to a non-elected, puppet of the central government, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal, to direct the police to control the skirmishes that had broken out and which threatened to get out of hand. Arvind Kejriwal who was prepared for a riot and large-scale violence before elections were left wondering why it happened after elections and if it had anything to do with his party’s declared intention to go National, which received wide attention.
A genocide which was state-sponsored, with professional criminals, brought in from outside Delhi, with the police becoming complicit and complacent, was much too complicated and ugly for Arvind Kejriwal to play. He has to now carry the unbearable guilt of innocents torched because they voted for welfare schemes by his government like free water and electricity. The message that was sent out by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was, vote for us, or you will pay with your life. While the actual perpetrators have already moved on to their next hunt, Arvind Kejriwal is not only taking the brickbats from critics for what they assume is his failure, but is also neck-deep in relief and rehabilitation of the victims, after Narendra Modi and Amit Shah washed their hands off it.
The Delhi genocide which torched the poorest sections of society claimed 46 plus lives, new bodies being fished out of drains on a regular basis, over 350 injured including 50 policemen and a cumulative loss of Rs 250,000 crores according to a Business Standard report. This is half of entire Delhi’s fiscal budget. The figure merely indicates the extent of damage to a large number of small scale units that operated in the congested localities. The thriving bakeries of Shiv Vihar, one of the worst-hit colonies, which provided livelihood to thousands of laborers from UP and Bihar, has now been reduced to ash. The empty walls covered with black soot, bear testimony to the fact that there was no attempt made to stop the massive scale of arson and looting. Neither the police nor the fire brigade responded for almost two days, while houses and businesses were torched. Chants of Jai Shri Ram and ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko goli maaron saalo ko, (shoot the traitors) became the war cries, for crimes, where humanism was a massive casualty.
Delhi model of genocide first tested and perfected in Gujarat to win elections is now ready to be rolled out in other states. With no real work to show in any of the BJP ruled states, triggering riots to win elections may well be the strategy adopted. A start has already been made in West Bengal, where elections are due next year. Chants of “Desh ke gaddaron ko goli maaro saalon ko” rang out in Amit Shah’s rally, but West Bengal being a full state, and the chief minister Mamata Banerjee having full control of the police, arrested the culprits immediately. An advantage that Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of a half state clearly did not have. It will roll off soon enough in Bihar, where elections are to be held in October this year.
The communal hate that Modi, Shah, and all their men unleashed in Delhi, since the beginning of this year, culminated in one of the most violent genocides that the capital has seen, since 1984. Hindutva goons were given free rein for almost three days, while police did not just look the other way, but as large scale, looting, and arson took place, they even lead violent mobs in terror areas. Though comparisons with the 1984 Sikh genocide is a given, situation is much scarier today because the riots were not controlled despite the high profile, much-publicized visit of President Trump to India. unmindful of the violent acts caught on camera.
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There is no mistaking the fact that this was a genocide, not a riot, the way thousands of Muslims, their homes, businesses, and personal property were identified and torched in the mayhem that lasted three days. The fact that not a single high profile arrest has been made, despite establishing BJP’s Kapil Mishra’s guilt, transferring Justice S Murlidharan to Haryana, for asking the police why an FIR should not be registered against him, giving him Y security instead, points to a state-sponsored pogrom.
Mishra, a nobody in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) had lost elections on the BJP ticket and had given a hateful speech in front of a deputy commissioner of police, threatening to clear the place of protestors, if they didn’t leave peacefully. Soon enough, in a matter of just a couple of hours, skirmishes broke out to disturb protests against the contentious Citizen Amendment Bill (CAA) and the National Registration of Citizen’s (NRC) which had been going on for 70 plus days peacefully. The fact that the riots were finally controlled in just three hours, after three days of mayhem, just proves the extent of the complicity of the police.
It is a well-known fact that riots can be stopped within 4-12 hours if the administration chooses to. Yet for three whole days, the police abdicated its responsibility to goons, who started with first stoning the protestors with the police watching them. By late evening on Sunday, it was evident that the situation was out of control, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders were reduced to begging the LG and the outgoing police commissioner Amulya Patnaik to help. None responded while the goons were given a free hand to identify and torch vehicles, houses, and businesses belonging to the Muslims.
Videos of guys in helmets with jackets brandishing guns and sticks went viral from day one. In the history of riots that have played out in the country, never has it played out in full view of the world. Where the devastation and the destruction, at the hands of the terrorists and the police alike were caught on camera. Actions of the police trying to break CCTV’s too was caught on camera.
The media, however, kept insisting that it was a clash between anti and pro CAA protestors when it was obvious that hardcore criminals, with a tremendous amount of planning, had entered the scene. Unlike in a riot, guns were extensively used here, and judging by the over 5000 rounds of used cartridges that were found, a more sophisticated gun than a country-made weapon was used. Not only was cash and jewelry looted, but so was household goods like refrigerators, which would have required larger vehicles to cart it off. Gigantic catapults were fixed on terrace walls of taller buildings, to launch bricks and petrol bombs into people ‘s homes and shops.
So complicit was the police, that on February 25, at 1.42 am the high court was forced to give directions to the police to rescue 20 riot victims stuck at the Al Hind hospital in Mustafabad and shift them to a bigger government hospital. Doctors were calling the police from 4 pm asking for police escorts. When the police did not help, the doctors were forced to approach the high court.
Delhi did not succumb to the hate campaign before elections on February 8, and the death toll was contained at 46 so far, though 100’s still in critical condition. Compare this to the 3000 deaths in 1984 and 1000s in the Gujrat genocide. Despite being given a free hand, the mobs could only do so much damage. It is the prevailing brotherhood, strengthened by the communal harmony efforts that were the focus of AAP’s six-month-long campaign before elections, in total anticipation of the hate campaign that helped contain the damage.
It is a dangerous narrative that is being set that anti-CAA protestors are anti-Islamists out to split the country and therefore subject to harshest measures by the government and the police. The BJP’s miscalculation that people will take CAA/NRC lying down, with the same sense of defeat and surrender, as they did with the abrogation of Article 370, Triple Talak, the disappointing Ayodhya verdict, precedents for which were laid with the lynchings, beef ban, among others, since 2014, were taken aback with the spontaneity with which protests broke out through the country. Protests at Shaheen Bagh, a colony in North East Delhi, by women and children, supported by men from all communities garnered international attention, enough to have the government at the center worried.
Though there was never any doubt, whom the pogrom was targeted at, Hindutva goons ended killing some of their own too. The families of Ankit Sharma and Rahul Solanki, both boys in their 20’s claimed that mobs screaming Jai Shri Ram dragged their boys away. Ankit Sharma’s brother shared this in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a statement that was changed the next day by his mother, saying that AAP corporator Tahir Hussain had killed her son. Rahul Solanki’s father, however, maintained that it was Hindutva goons who killed his son.
Narendra Modi in his second term as prime minister has no bearing as a pragmatic, development-oriented leader. Today he is just a Hindu extremist leader, and an aggravated version of him is Amit Shah. The promise before elections was to become world leaders of business. Instead, they could teach a lesson or two to the world, on how to mastermind riots and win elections instead.
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By Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Edited Adam Rizvi, Copy Edited By Shafaat Khan