New Delhi: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Janata Dal (United) didn’t name ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but blamed the central government for the communal riots that erupted in Northeast Delhi Sunday and continued for the next two days. Their criticism was primarily reserved for Delhi Police, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry.
The death toll in the violence has climbed to 24.
Another key ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), said statements made by certain BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra were responsible for inciting violence.
The SAD and the JD(U) said the central government should ensure strong action is taken against those behind the violence.
Talking to ThePrint, SAD leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral said the responsibility for the violence lay squarely with the central government as law and order was its domain.
Gujral said the government should take strong action against those behind the violence, irrespective of their party affiliations or religious beliefs.
“There seems to be a laxity (to contain the violence) on the part of Delhi Police, which comes under the Government of India. It’s up to the Government of India to contain the situation. Law and order come under them,” Gujral said, adding that he was saddened by the violence.
“We can’t allow a repeat of what happened in 1984 (when riots targeting Sikhs broke out in the capital after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi),” Gujral added.
Asked if the SAD had spoken to the BJP on the issued, Gujral said it’s not the time to play political chess.
“I am concerned as a citizen of this country. Right now, the fire needs to be doused urgently.”
Ahead of the Delhi elections, the SAD had opted out of the polls following disagreements with the BJP over the new citizenship law, which is believed to have been the trigger for the clashes.
Although the party had voted for the law in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, it later demanded that Muslims be included in the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Delhi Police behaviour ‘pathetic’
Senior JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi, the party’s national spokesperson, said the central government was at fault.
“There was a need for a dialogue between the Centre and the protesters. It did not happen. Dialogue could have prevented the situation from deteriorating further,” he added.
Tyagi called Delhi Police’s behaviour “pathetic”. “The way Delhi Police acted was unbecoming.”
Condemning the violence, the JD(U) leader said such incidents were not good for democracy. “Strong action has to be taken to ensure that such incidents are not repeated again.”
Chirag Paswan blames Kapil Mishra
LJP president and MP Chirag Paswan blamed statements made by BJP leaders, including Kapil Mishra, for the violence.
“The kind of statement given by BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra was equally responsible for inciting violence and our party has demanded strict action against these leaders,” he said.
Paswan said political leaders had to realise the gravity of their actions. “I have said earlier also that the inflammatory statements made by BJP leaders like Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma were behind the BJP losing Delhi elections. The same thing is being repeated now ahead of elections in my state (Bihar). We will not allow it,” he added.
The Bihar assembly election is slated to be held later this year.