Delhi Riots or Gujarat – Is the History Repeating?

The religious riots that started last week in the Indian capital of New Delhi that have left the city unraveled are the most horrific riots in the decade.

The riots, which began with minor clashes between supporters and opponents of the controversial citizenship law, have turned into a major religious riot between Hindus and Muslims.

Police were seen gurgling from the riots and armed gangs made unrest on the streets of New Delhi. Mosques, homes and shops were attacked, sometimes with the help of police. Journalists who were trying to cover the horrific situation were stopped by the protesters and questioned about their religion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted and appealed for peace for the first time after three days of riots and more than 20 killings. There were no expressions of grief and sorrow for the victims.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi has also been criticized for failing to take effective measures in these situations. Many have termed it a serious failure of the Delhi Police, which has the most resources in India, and the opposition parties have come together on the streets and have been unable to ease the tensions.

With no surprise, the riots are being compared to the worst communal riots in India in the past. In 1984, nearly 3,000 people were killed in anti-Sikh protests in the capital after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh protector.

Later in 2002, a train fire in Gujarat killed more than a thousand people, mostly Muslims, following the death of 60 Hindu pilgrims. Prime Minister Modi, at that time, was Chief Minister of the state.

Police was accused of being involved in both riots. The Delhi High Court, which is hearing riot petitions, has said that it cannot allow “another 1984” under its supervision.

Ashutosh Varshane, a professor of political science at Brown University who has extensively researched religious violence in India, believes that the riots in Delhi are largely a systematic massacre like 1984 and 2002.

According to Professor Varshna, organized massacre occurs when the police does not act impulsively to stop the riots, ignoring the crowds and sometimes “clearly” helping the perpetrators. The indifference of the Delhi Police has come to the fore for the last three days.

“Our energies should now focus on preventing further escalation, not letting the violence reach the scale of Delhi 1984 & Gujarat 2002,” he said.

 

In the Delhi election campaign, Prime Minister Modi’s party launched a campaign to discriminate society to eliminate a controversial new citizenship law, eliminate Kashmir’s sovereignty and build a new Hindu temple.

On Sunday, a BJP leader issued a threat and told Delhi police that he had three days to evacuate places where people were protesting against the citizenship law and if you fail to do so, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

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