New Delhi, February 26: The Opposition on Wednesday held the Centre responsible for the deadly communal violence in Delhi with Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation.
The Congress also said it plans to march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday to hand over a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind over the issue. The party had planned to do so after the CWC meeting on Wednesday itself but postponed it as the President gave time for Thursday.
Also, Opposition leaders including Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Loktantrik Janata Dal Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, and those from DMK and NCP, have also sought time from President Kovind to discuss the violence that has engulfed parts of northeast Delhi.
Addressing a rare press conference at the party headquarters after chairing a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, Gandhi alleged there was a “well-planned” conspiracy behind the violence, that has also led to injuries to more than 200 people over the past three days.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the violence in Delhi was a “chilling reminder” of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the only way to restore peace and normalcy in the national capital was by calling in the Army.
At a joint press conference with CPI general secretary D Raja, Yechury claimed that it was clear that the violence in Delhi has the sanction of police and that of the “powers that govern them”.
Both Raja and Yechury questioned the role of Home Minister Amit Shah in dealing with the violence and blamed him for not being able to contain the situation.
“If NSA is supposed to be in charge of Delhi Police, then what is the role of Home Minister? Has the government conceded that Home Minister Amit Shah is incapable of handling Delhi violence,” they asked.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led a peace march from the party headquarters in the afternoon in which a number of senior Congress leaders participated. She also demanded Home Minister Shah’s resignation and alleged that the central government had failed to maintain peace.
The CWC, the highest decision-making body of the Congress, deliberated on the issue of violence and passed a resolution, demanding answers from both the central and Delhi governments, while also urging the people of Delhi to “reject the politics of hate and do their best in healing the rifts caused by these shameful events”.
“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 and particularly the Home Minister and (the CWC) calls upon the Home Minister to tender his resignation immediately,” Gandhi said, reading out the CWC resolution.
The Centre, the home minister and the Delhi government are responsible for the situation in the national capital, the Congress chief said.
“Union Home Minister Shah must take responsibility for the violence in Delhi and resign,” she said.
She went on to attack the AAP dispensation, saying Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his government are “equally responsible for not activating the administration” to reach out to the people to maintain peace and harmony. The Delhi chief minister must be visible in the affected areas and be in communication with people, she said.
Meanwhile, senior AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai urged the Centre to deploy the Army in the violence-hit northeast Delhi and urged Home Minister Shah to take action and not hold meetings just for “formality”.
Singh alleged that on one hand Shah was holding meetings and on the other, BJP leaders were making provocative statements.
“The Home Minister called an all-party meet on the situation, Kapil Mishra, on the other hand, is inciting violence. BJP’s Laxmi Nagar MLA Abhay Verma was witnessed shouting inflammatory slogans yesterday to incite violence. This is a classic example of the two-faced BJP,” he told reporters.
The Delhi Congress also took out a peace march from the party headquarters later in the day. Priyanka Gandhi, who led the march, urged the Congress workers to visit affected areas and spread the message of peace and brotherhood.
She also accused the government of having “destroyed” Delhi, where people from across the country come to seek employment.
“This is our city. People come here to find work. Today, fire and hatred is being spread in this city. We are a party that has helped in the freedom struggle and it is our duty to bring peace and maintain harmony. I urge every one of you to spread the message of love and brotherhood,” Priyanka told the party workers.
The Congress president at her first press conference in many years hit out at BJP leader Kapil Mishra for making a statement that allegedly incited the violence in the city.
“The CWC demands answers to 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?” she said.
On whether the Congress is demanding deployment of the Army in riot-hit areas, Gandhi said the CWC resolution mentions the need to deploy paramilitary forces.
At least 24 people have been killed and over 200 injured in communal violence that broke out in northeast Delhi three days ago. Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar are among the areas mainly affected by the riots. (PTI)