National shame

Northeast Delhi burns as US President’s visit concludes

National shame

As a nation, communal riots have been our birth bane. But 73 years later, to keep the wounds festering and to sharpen the old divides and knives, merely to gain political mileage, seems more akin to a criminal act than a mythical curse. We witnessed it yet again in the national Capital on Monday night. Entire neighbourhoods were set ablaze; billowing clouds of hatred painting Delhi sooty, 35 years after the anti-Sikh riots proved that our politicians and policemen remain incorrigible. The cruel metaphor of the vultures’ feast now hovers over Delhi.

A new crop of leaders has come up to do the old trick of triggering communal violence with the police standing guard. Incidents in northeast Delhi, which took a toll of 10 people, including a cop on duty, and left 160 injured, should be seen as an extension of the rabid reactionary mobs which were unleashed to deal with those opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Jawaharlal Nehru University or elsewhere. Kapil Mishra, a former Aam Aadmi Party minister, and now a BJP leader, stood next to a Deputy Commissioner of Police on Sunday and issued an ultimatum to get the anti-CAA protesters removed from Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh in three days. On the third day, all these Muslim-dominated localities erupted in a full-blown communal riot, even as the President of the United States began his State visit in Ahmedabad and Agra.

While one part of Delhi was burning, the other was preparing for Tuesday’s bilateral between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Twitter was ablaze with visuals of arson from all across the Capital. Yet, Arvind Kejriwal, who won a landslide election to become Chief Minister for the third time, merely tweeted and retweeted platitudes, as if he could do nothing to stop the madness in his own state. The least that Kejriwal and his MLAs could have done was to have hit the streets to pacify the mobs and to have convinced them that the Delhi Government and the police were impartial. Unfortunately, even Kejriwal has only complaints against the police. And the Home Ministry is responsible.

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