At least nine people have been killed and more than 100 injured in northeast Delhi as violence gripped Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur and Gokulpuri Sunday after anti- and pro-CAA groups clashed. Home Minister Amit Shah met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to review the situation. Kejriwal said that Delhi Police officers couldn’t do “anything because they were not getting orders from their seniors”.
ThePrint asks: Who is to blame for CAA violence: Delhi Police or politics of Modi government?
Delhi Police has appeared rudderless and can be considered responsible for Delhi violence
Former Delhi police commissioner
It is clear that a piece of legislation and the politics behind it are responsible for the Delhi violence. Presumably, taking advantage of the offending legislation, people from the opposition parties and those with vested interests are inciting the minority community that has been protesting against it.
The short answer to the question whether the Delhi Police responded to the violence promptly is, unfortunately, in the negative.
The response of the Delhi Police to the escalating violence has been rather tardy, a trait that has been seen consistently in the recent past at Tees Hazari during the lawyer-police clashes, Jamia Millia Islamia University, JNU, Shaheen Bagh and now in the trans-Yamuna area. The Delhi Police, generally adept at dealing with such situations, has appeared rudderless and listless, bereft of any sense of direction and purpose.
Leadership, if any, is conspicuously absent. Men on the ground level don’t know what to do and when, as they are not sure where they would stand if things go wrong. Officers in the field don’t seem to have a free hand. If one goes by TV visuals, the deployment seems unplanned. Large contingents of police force arrive, but there is no one to take charge of them. No attempt has been made towards area domination.
So, by their acts of omission and ineptitude, the Delhi Police could be considered responsible for the large-scale violence in Delhi’s trans-Yamuna area.
Delhi police and ruling party have made mockery of law and order. This is shocking
Former joint police commissioner, Delhi
The violence that has broken out in the northeast areas of Delhi is absolutely shocking. I am currently out of the country, but having studied the preceding violence that occurred in Jamia and Shaheen Bagh, it is clear that the ruling establishment at the Centre had no business to provoke rival communities in volatile northeast Delhi. Everyone is well aware of what exactly is happening, which groups are triggering violence and how the ruling establishment is pushing its agenda. They have made a mockery of law and order and this is disgusting.
Delhi Police is a professional force. It saddens me as an ex-Delhi Police officer to see how the police is made to push forth the ethical or unethical agenda of the ruling party against its own people. But I believe that the Delhi Police cannot do anything on its own because the home minister is its boss. It is an established fact that no one dares to disobey the home minister and incur his wrath. Whatever the police officers are doing, it is only at the behest of the home ministry. So, if there’s someone who should be held liable for the current chaos in the national capital, it is the central government.
I have sincerely and diligently served in the government for 35 years. I do not want to be anti-establishment, but the situation in Delhi is such that one is bound to be. It can’t get more distressing.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s Maujpur visit and tweets encouraged anti-social elements to incite violence
Lawyer and AAP leader
It is not easy to point out the genesis of this violence to one thing. But it is true that these agitations and protests were triggered when the government began discussions around the CAA-NRC-NPR project. The insecurities that were caused because of the CAA were never duly addressed by the BJP. Before the Delhi assembly election, the BJP tried to orient its entire campaign on communal lines. It became a question of Shaheen Bagh supporters vs Shaheen Bagh opposers. The ruling party of the country decided to communalise the election, it must now own up for the violence that is happening.
When BJP leader Kapil Mishra made inflammatory speeches during his visit to Maujpur and also on Twitter, he encouraged those anti-social elements to incite violence. Moreover, a significant chunk of the Delhi Police force was busy in the arrangements for US President Donald Trump’s visit. The hype created around CAA-NRC and the BJP’s inability to resolve people’s queries are also primary reasons for this mayhem.
At this moment, the flames of the violence cannot be doused by doing politics. Everyone needs to come together and think about the way forward. Now is the time to go beyond religion, regionalism, politics and appeal to everyone to restore peace and stability in the capital.
Suspecting Modi govt or Delhi Police for violence is defying logic given high-stakes visit of Trump
Assistant Professor at Delhi University
It is a gross oversimplification to bracket the recent clashes as ‘CAA violence’. It simply reflects the unwillingness to look truth in the face. You cannot fix responsibility unless you begin with cold truth.
Ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in December 2019, protests were being organised at different places across India, especially where Muslims are in a majority. Shaheen Bagh has been used as a symbol of anti-CAA resistance, inspiring similar hotspots. The speeches given at these sites had the mention of JNU, Rohith Vemula, lynching, triple talaq, Ram Temple and Kashmir. The refrain has been that the Narendra Modi government is against Muslims and now is the time to take to the streets. The speech of Sharjeel Imam could be taken as just one example.
These are not self-motivated, independent, sundry outpourings but organised faceless and leaderless protests and riot-like situations handled by some individuals and organisations. Despite the two-month long blockade, the protests have elicited only caution from the government and the court. After Shaheen Bagh did not succeed as a strategy to prove that the government has failed, the handlers of the protests are taking this to the next level.
Suspecting the Modi government or Delhi Police for Delhi violence is defying logic given the high-stakes visit of US President Donald Trump and the mega built up around it. Neither the government nor the ruling party would want a mega party spoiler like this.
Delhi Police under home ministry has become so lax & inefficient that a new model of supervision is needed
Former special secretary of the cabinet secretariat
The Narendra Modi government and the home ministry are responsible for the law and order situation and police administration in New Delhi through the Lt. Governor. The elected government in the capital has no control whatsoever. So, the ruling establishment is primarily responsible for the breakdown of law and order in parts of northeast Delhi. The BJP also allowed violence to be perpetrated against peaceful anti-CAA protesters and encouraged its political cadre to put the blame on the protesters. This was to show to the outside world that the CAA protesters are anti-national and violent.
That Delhi was allowed to burn even during the visit of US President Donald Trump shows the utter inefficiency of Delhi Police, which did not prevent the riot-like outbreak by taking action such as preventive arrests. The Delhi Police under the home ministry has become so lax and inefficient that a new model of supervision is needed.
The Supreme Court should intervene and appoint a committee to overhaul the supervision of the Delhi Police.
Also read: Do Shaheen Bagh protesters run risk of waning interest or should stay put for CAA endgame ?
By Unnati Sharma, journalist at ThePrint