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Why Modi decided to send Ajit Doval to enforce the law, bring peace to Northeast Delhi

NSA Ajit Doval’s highly-publicised visits were glaring as home ministry under Amit Shah is responsible for law enforcement in the capital and Delhi Police reports to him.

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New Delhi: Upset with how the Hindu-Muslim riots in Northeast Delhi overshadowed the visit of US President Donald Trump to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi resorted to the unprecedented move of sending National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to the district to ensure the law is enforced and peace returns, ThePrint has learnt.

Doval made two trips to the district since Tuesday evening, visiting the local police station, walking through the grimy lanes and bylanes, listening to scared residents and assuring them of security — all under the glare of television cameras.

His intervention is seen as extremely unusual, as it is not exactly the job of the NSA to micromanage law enforcement and become the face of the government, even in a riot-torn corner of the national capital where 25 people were killed over four days.

Doval’s highly-publicised visits were all the more glaring as the Union home ministry under Amit Shah is responsible for law enforcement in the capital, and the Delhi Police reports to Shah.

Moreover, Shah, who has been criticised for his polarising speeches in connection with the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act during the Delhi election campaign, is also known to have taken firm control of the security establishment in the central government after becoming home minister last year.

The security establishment was largely controlled by Doval in the first term of the Modi government.

Also read: Calling in the Indian Army — why Delhi is special compared to rest of India

Doval is an operations man

The prime minister, sources told ThePrint, was particularly unhappy that the violence flared just a day after Trump was accorded a gala reception in Gujarat by tens of thousands of people.

“It was bad optics. The PM was not happy with the way the media, including the foreign media, clubbed Trump’s visit with the violence on the city streets. It was hugely damaging,” one highly-placed government source said.

Modi saw Doval as the right person to be given charge for more than one reason, the source said.

A 1968-batch Kerala cadre Indian Police Service officer, Doval retired as director of the Intelligence Bureau. Considered to be close to Modi, he was appointed NSA in 2014, soon after the BJP came to power.

The riots exposed the Delhi Police, and it was seen to be rudderless, even though it had a commissioner in Amulya Patnaik who was on a one-month extension after retirement.

“No one seemed to be in charge. It was one of the reasons the PM instructed that Doval should be brought in,” the source said.

It was also at this juncture Tuesday that S.N. Srivastava was appointed special commissioner of Delhi Police.

Another reason why the NSA was deputed to tackle a Hindu-Muslim riot was because it was thought that unlike Doval, Shah could not have moved around freely in the riot-affected areas, reaching out to Muslims.

“Doval is an operations man and is adept in handling such situations. He was the government’s pointsperson in Kashmir too, talking to locals when the state was witnessing an indefinite shutdown after Article 370 was scrapped,” said a second source.

Not a snub to Shah

Although the move to depute Doval has sparked talk of it being a snub to Shah, the sources sought to dismiss such an interpretation.

“There is no iota of truth in that. The PM wanted some credible face from the government to be in charge of the situation on the ground, and Doval was seen as the right fit,” said one of the sources quoted earlier.

Although Doval was on the ground, Shah was kept in the loop, the source said. “Doval went to meet Shah soon after he visited the riot-affected area Wednesday to brief him about the situation,” the source said.

The NSA, the second source said, was working in close tandem with both the PM and Shah, giving his inputs on an hourly basis since 25 February.

Shah had held over a dozen meetings with senior security and Intelligence Bureau officials. He also reviewed the situation with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. According to a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Doval was present in the “security review” meeting that was called by Shah Tuesday evening.

In accordance with what was discussed in the meeting, the NSA visited the police Deputy Commissioner’s office in Seelampur, the source said.

With additional inputs by Snehesh Alex Philip

Also read: At Delhi hospital, an endless wait for bodies and one common complaint — no ambulances


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  1. The root cause of problems in Indian cities is due to (My personal assessment) is exploding
    Population Growth. The life in most of the cities is not humans belonging to the poorest sections.
    All the developments get nullified by exponential growth in population.

  2. Ajithdoval is an idiot nothing to do with delhi peace restoration, when delhi was burning he was hiding, he carried and saved all terrorists from india to kabul under vajpayee govt, adamant in his actions

  3. Lot of minority appeasement and sicularism create such problems. A section of the minority holding the country to ransom and blocking roads at the capital city and all other places across the country. A sinister design to allow bangladeshis into India and divide the country.

  4. Intelligence failure of Pulwama,the same happened in Delhi inpresence of the most powerful person of the world.instead of punishing the people responsible for intelligence failure ,the NSA is acting like a SHO of the area but this time unlike Kashmir without plate of Biryani who knows after normalcy is restored he may come back with the plate.

  5. When the world is battling against the epidemic of Coronavirus which has already killed almost 3000 people around, and the world’s most powerful chaired person US President Trump was on India visit, The Capital of India New Delhi was burning like hell. Seems well planned to deviate the peaceful agitations at Shaheen bagh and other places, the rightist came with threat such as “Goli Maro” and more direct threats of bullets fired on protestor’s making it hard to believe that even peaceful and Gandhian way of agitation is now a crime in the eyes of the ruling Govt. Last 2 months the Shaheen Bagh protest echoed worldwide recognition as a legitimate way to voice their concern and opposition to CAA/NRP/NCR brought by the Govt . threatening the very existence of the minorities. After 3 days of free hand rioting the PM has still not come out openly to condemn the horrific violence tolling the death figures higher on day to day. Mr. Doval was finally pressed into action and little changed happened as he faced fierce resistance from the minority muslims who clearly called on the RSS and its affiliates responsible for bringing fear and death along with Crores worth property and assets destruction. Its a similar modus operandi like in the occupied West Bank by the Israelis who have put multiple restrictions on the lives of the musliim population depriving them of the basic rights of existence. A similar move India by our Govt. who happens to be closely friendly taking lessons from Israel will not be successful here in India. Either the Govt. takes Nazi like approach and let the muslim minorities to the Gas Chambers in India for their final eviction or expect a tough response from this community that it is not going to let the menace of Myanmar happens in India. Mr. Doval might be the right man in the eyes of the PM to push in the civil society and bring back normalcy in Delhi, but the minorities now have little trust left in the security agencies like the Delhi Police who remain silent and watched this happens. More than the event at JNU and Jamia has already put a black spot on the Delhi Police not to be trusted anymore. Hard to take but the events such as Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid case favoring the Majority, Abolishing Article 370 from J&K and now CAA/NPR/NCR call has proved to be a dangerous move by the rightist Govt. who are unable to understand that this is not the same India they felt to change by force and arrogance. More sorrow is felt on the loss of lives – no matters hindu or muslim, a huge blow to the civil society who have again seen the separation of communities and their areas on the line of religion. Our enemies might me smiling at us on how an already gutted economy is taken at tast by orchestrating riots to save the face of the ruling power.

    • You have a lot of time to comment, had people like you taken care of downtrodden people in your community the situation would have been very different. Knowledge elevates mind so use it in right forum and with right audience.

      • How many downtrodden people in your community have you taken care of? There are more downtrodden people in your community than in his community.

  6. So netas would deliver hate speech and lit the fire allow the people of two communities with each other and would send some one else to douse the fire. Netas woukd conduct Road shows only to beg for votes.

  7. This is a completely incompetent government. Neither it’s record on management of the economy or on law & order inspires any confidence. What it does well is event management, with a lot of hype and hoopla like the recent’ Namaste Trump’. Not sure about the substance though.

  8. First allow Delhi to burn for three days, no Home Minister, no police & then send some idiot to calm every thing. Good strategy to fool ppl of Delhi. Communalism it it’s peak.

  9. The loss of so many precious lives – including an 85 year old Muslim woman being burnt alive in her home – is a lot more than bad optics. It is a great human tragedy. That it occurred during President trump’s visit should not acquire a larger than life dimension. These dusty lanes and by lanes where humble Indians live their unremarkable lives is what should matter to us. Not seeking Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with the US.

  10. Everyone assumes Ajit Doval was requested by Modi but in fact it was Amit Shah who requested that Ajit visit Delhi.Even learned people reach conclusion that Modi did it?

  11. Mr. Doval has his skill sets and the PM is much smarter that than all commentators put together to know where to use them, he has done it in Kashmir. It was the CNN and BBC who asked the questions about CAA , 370& 35 A to Trump in the PC. Hiding behind the foreign media is the same as hiding behind the women at the protests, the same war tactics of using the human shields. Anonymity is what all criminal and people lacking courage of conviction need. Sit on a dharna with faces covered, throw stones with faces covered. They don’t want Aadhar, or any form of identity. All of them want to be allowed to do whatever they want to, without the fear of getting caught.
    Courts must make it mandatory to keep faces visible in any protest unless the leaders / organizers can guarantee that there will be no violence or public nuisance. In which case they will be held responsible.
    Does a comment that we will not allow the 84 to repeat only confirms that it was allowed to happen?

  12. This was waiting to happen for more than a fortnight. The way the Delhi police behaved in the last six months, it was clear thay could do nothing. As usual the Delhi police is accountable to nobody. They are a law unto themselves. Professional rivalries, personal ambitions, I don’t care come what may attitude of the group leaders etc rampant in the Delhi police.

  13. PM want some credible face to handle the case
    So tadiper is not credible
    .Modiji should keep tadiper at a safe distance. India is not Gujarat, Gujarat tadiper can deliver, but not in India

  14. This one is so poor in protocols, the very first month in 2014 change in government, PMO announced a Indian gift of a Billion USD to former Russian colony. MEA was no where in sight!!!!!

  15. The fact that an IB officer Ankit Sharma was killed gives a different angle to this riot. The rioters had information to identify him. It wasn’t an accident. Losing an inteiligence officer in a riot is a matter of shame for any government. It is quite likely that the riotors who started squatting in Jafrabad had inputs through foreign intelligence agencies. Of course, these things work through cutouts, never directly. So it is a matter in which NSA should be concerned.

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