Congress, BJP trade barbs as LS finally discusses Delhi riots

The Congress and opposition parties have been pushing for discussion on the Delhi riots since last week and demanded the resignation of Amit Shah. Photo: PTI

After Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla revoked the suspension of seven Congress MPs, the Lower House of Parliament finally started discussing the Delhi riots, which resulted in the loss of at least 50 lives, apart from leaving hundreds homeless.

Opening the debate, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, alleged that the Modi government did not take any action to contain the violence even as mobs rioted for two days at a stretch. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah did not even visit North-East Delhi where dozens of business establishments were burnt down during the riots,” he said.

The Congress and opposition parties have been pushing for discussion on the Delhi riots since last week and demanded the resignation of Amit Shah.

Countering the attack, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Delhi, said, “What happened in north-east Delhi was planned violence targeting the majority community?”

Pointing out at the murder of Ankit Sharma, Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer and alleged that bricks, Molotov cocktails and acid pouches were found in huge quantities at various locations, indicating the violence was planned in detail.

Italy surfaces again

Choudhury said the Union government’s inaction was like Nero who is accused of playing the fiddle while Italia’s capital, Rome, burned.

As the BJP members smirked at the mention of Italy even as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was sitting right behind Choudhury, the Congress MP said RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar was a fan of Italy’s Benito Mussolini.

Lekhi hit back by saying that the grandfather of the person sitting behind you (without naming Rahul) worked in the army of Mussolini. The two sides continued to throw accusations at each other and there several instances of an uproar as the debate progressed.

The Congress argument was that nothing was done to protect the minorities and humanity was the casualty. Adhir Ranjan also alleged that provocative speeches of several BJP leaders were responsible for instigating the violence.

On the other hand, the BJP alleged a conspiracy behind ‘Shaheen Bagh’ and accused foreign money was being used to fan unrest. Lekhi even named George Soros as providing funding to the tune of $1 billion to various organisations which then used deceptive methods to foster trouble in the country.

In trying to establish that the violence was planned and organised, she said at one location the properties of minorities were burnt down while the properties of minorities in a neighbouring location remained unharmed.

International concern

TR Baalu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), said various countries have expressed concerned over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the violence in north-east Delhi. The ‘Shaheen Bagh’ protests were peaceful while pro-CAA agitation in north-east Delhi led to violence, he alleged.

Amazed by the Delhi police’s failure to curb the violence even though it is an efficient police force, he also hit out at them for indulging in a violent crackdown in Jamia Millia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.