The capital of India, Delhi, has been burning for more than three days in widespread communal riots and mayhem. Law and order situation took the brunt when BJP MP Kapil Mishra gave a threat to anti-CAA and anti-NRC protestors and later, a gang of Hindutva hooligans started vandalizing markets and torching vehicles.
Anti-CAA protests have been going on for more than two months without any provocative and incendiary remarks, those people have been exercising their democratic rights to register their disapproval of the government policies. A democracy is a system of government in which each and every individual is allowed to express dissent and disapproval of any government policy. Ever since BJP came to power, their modus operandi has been to curb the dissent through violent means which has compromised the democratic spirit of the nation.
Photographs, videos and accounts on social media paint a chilling image of mostly Hindu mobs beating unarmed men, including journalists; of groups of men with sticks, iron rods and stones wandering the streets; and of Hindus and Muslims facing each other in a riot. Judging by the names released so far, both Muslims and Hindus are among the dead and injured but it was the Muslim areas that were affected the most.
The Delhi High Court, which is hearing petitions about the violence, has said it cannot let “another 1984” happen on its “watch”. In 1984, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in anti-Sikh riots in the city. Moreover, the widespread killing of Muslims and communal tension makes one reminiscent of the Gujarat of 2002 where state was accomplice in orchestrating violence against Muslims. The perpetrators of Gujarat violence are still at large and it doesn’t look likely that the perpetrators of Delhi violence will be brought to justice either.
Moreover, there are videos of Hindutva mob desecrating and defiling a mosque in Delhi and putting a saffron flag over a minaret. This reminds one of the Babri Masjid incident of 1992 when Hindutva mob razed the mosque to the ground. There again, this act of vandalism went unpunished and its masterminds were not caught by the law enforcement agencies. In fact, those who proudly claim that they brought down the Babri masjid were given positions in the BJP government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Wednesday, three days after the violence broke out, appealing for peace. He added that he had reviewed the situation and police were working to restore normality. Prime Minister kept his silence as the Delhi burned and he was busy hosting President Donald Trump which in itself did not yield any fruitful results for the country.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which grants amnesty to illegal non-Muslim immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries, discriminates against Muslims, while the government denies this. It sparked huge protests, including those led by Muslim women. Some of these – such as the one in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh – have become the target of right-wing vitriol where police seemed like an accomplice to the Hindutva mob.
At least three BJP leaders, including Kapil Mishra, have been accused of inciting violence through hate speeches. The Delhi High Court is currently hearing petitions to register a police complaint against them.