Modi and Kejriwal Discuss Delhi Violence, Relief Measures but Not Hate Speech

This was the Delhi CM's first meeting with the PM after the assembly polls that witnessed a bitter campaign in which anti-CAA protests figured prominently.

New Delhi: Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting at Parliament House that those responsible for the violence in North East Delhi should not be spared. The violence has thus far claimed 47 lives and left over 200 seriously injured.

Talking to the media following the meeting, which took place around 11 am, Kejriwal said: “I told him (Modi) we should make sure such riots do not happen again in the national capital. Those who are responsible for the clashes – even if they belong to any political party – should not be spared, I told the prime minister.” He said he urged action against people irrespective of “how influential they were”.

The Delhi Police has so far registered 369 FIRs in connection with the violence and has arrested over 1,200 people.

Kejriwal said that during the meeting, he had lauded the Delhi police for acting promptly to “check rumours in the last few days”. He said Modi too “agreed that such violent incidents should not be repeated in Delhi.”

Also read: Delhi Riots: What the State Government Must Do

Action against culprits, relief measures discussed

During the meeting with the PM, Kejriwal’s first after becoming the Delhi CM for the third successive time, the latter said he discussed relief measures which need to be taken urgently for those hit by the violence.

Incidentally, various civil rights groups have accused some BJP leaders of being responsible for the violence. The Centre, which controls the Delhi Police, has also been accused of not taking serious steps to curb it. They have also accused the Delhi government and its functionaries and MLAs of not being seen on the ground when the victims needed them the most.

The Kejriwal government has also been accused of not doing enough for providing relief to the large number of displaced people, the injured and the families of the deceased. On Tuesday, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia is scheduled to visit the areas affected by the violence.

A man carrying a child walks past security forces in a riot affected area in New Delhi, February 27, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

No discussion on hate speech

However, the two leaders did not take up the issue of hate speech which has been blamed by many for the violence.

During the campaign for the Delhi Assembly elections, Modi and also Union home minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders had repeatedly stated that anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests at Shaheen Bagh were vitiating the atmosphere. Some party leaders like Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had also equated these protests with Pakistan, biryani and Muslims.

Also read: Delhi Polls, Hate Speech and BJP’s Most Reckless Communal Campaign Yet

At least three BJP leaders – Union minister Anurag Thakur, West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma and former MLA Kapil Mishra – had also made inflammatory slogans during the campaign for which they were even debarred from campaigning for varying durations by the Election Commission.

The courts had later questioned why FIRs were not lodged immediately and some former Delhi police commissioners have also asked this.

BJP leader’s actions had acted as trigger

Just before the violence in North East Delhi, Mishra had on February 24 issued a statement urging people to turn up at Jaffrabad to remove a road blockade by anti-CAA protesters. This had led to violence in the area. However, the two leaders skipped these issues.

After violence had rocked Delhi, Kejriwal had also attended a high-level meeting called by Shah. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and senior civil servants and police officers were also present. Following that meeting, he had stated that Shah had assured him that adequate police would be provided to curb violence. This came after the lack of police personnel and the inaction of Delhi Police was blamed for the extensive loss of life and property.

Coronavirus spread also discussed

Kejriwal said he also raised the issue of new coronavirus cases being reported, urging immediate steps to prevent its spread in the city.

“We also discussed the spread of coronavirus. One case has been reported been in Delhi and another in Telangana. It’s a lethal disease spreading across the world,” he said. Incidentally, Delhi’s satellite township Noida is on a high alert after the father of a school student was found afflicted with the virus.