Sonia Gandhi demands Amit Shah’s resignation over Delhi violence

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 26

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday demanded resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah blaming him and the Centre for the failure to control the communal violence which has claimed 20 lives.

Read: Sonia politicising violence, demand for Shah’s resignation laughable: BJP

After chairing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee here on the situation in the capital, Gandhi, flanked by top party leaders, including former PM Manmohan Singh, squarely blamed the BJP leaders for worsening the situation with their provocative speeches and also the government for not acting in time to contain the violence.

She said she hoped PM Narendra Modi would call an all-party meeting on the issue.

“When late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM and I was leader of opposition, Vajpayee would call a meeting of opposition leaders to discuss all issues--be it Kashmir or others. Ever since the Modi government has come in 2014 there has been no such meeting. There was a meeting on Delhi two days ago but it was not an all-party meeting. A sad but true fact is that PM Modi hasn’t called all-party meetings on crisis situations,” Gandhi said.

On the government’s accusation that the Delhi situation was orchestrated, Gandhi said, “You can’t really believe what they say.”

Gandhi said the CWC had called for raising the presence of paramilitary forces in Delhi.

Asked why the CWC did not demand the Army’s presence, she said, “That’s the third step. The first step is police and the second is paramilitary.”

The CWC also resolved to hold a march to the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Thursday and petition the President with a memorandum.

Gandhi said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal should be visible on the ground and he, along with the Centre, had failed to stop the Delhi violence.

Gandhi read out the CWC resolution which said, “Gravely concerned over the unprecedented continuing violence and loss of lives in Delhi. The CWC met today to deliberate upon the deteriorating situation in the national capital Delhi. The tragic events since last Sunday have a history, design and pattern. It was evident even during the Delhi elections. Several leaders of the BJP made inflammatory statements clearly intended to create an atmosphere of fear and hate. The last of these statements was made on Sunday, when a BJP leader gave an ultimatum of three days to Delhi Police and warned that “after three days don’t tell us anything.”

Gandhi said the deliberate inaction of the Central and state governments in the past 72 hours had resulted in 20 lives being lost so far.

“Violence continues unabated on the streets of northeast Delhi. The CWC expresses its deep regret and offers its sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and earnestly wishes that the injured persons will recover swiftly and be restored to good health.

“After reviewing the situation, the CWC is of the firm opinion that what has happened in Delhi is a colossal failure of duty for which the entire responsibility must be borne by the Central Government, particularly the Home Minister, and it calls upon the Home Minister to tender his resignation immediately.”

Gandhi said the Chief Minister and the Delhi government are equally responsible for not activating the administration to reach out to the people to maintain peace and harmony. 

“It is the collective failure of the two governments that has resulted in a great tragedy in the capital city which threatens to become worse by the day,” she added.

Sonia read out the CWC statement which said, “The CWC demands answers to the following questions:

Where was the Home Minister and what was he doing since last Sunday?

Where was the Chief Minister of Delhi and what was he doing since last Sunday?

What were the reports given by the intelligence agencies in the days immediately after the conclusion of the Delhi elections and leading up to today?

What was the strength of the police force deployed on the night of Sunday when there were clear indications that violence will break out?

Why were additional security forces not called immediately when it was clear that the situation was beyond the control of Delhi Police?”

The CWC said the situation is grave and required urgent action and adequate security forces must be deployed immediately to bring it under control.

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