Instead of drawing (vague) comparisons between current Delhi riots and 1984, we should ponder….
Is it even fair? Is it even correct?
One of the striking features of the anti-Sikh program of 1984 was how quickly rumours spread across the city about Sikhs poisoning Delhi’s water supply and trainloads of bodies of massacred Hindus arriving from Punjab. Remember, those were pre- social media days and rumours had to physically pass from one ear to another….!
So how did these rumours engulf Delhi within 24 hours of Indira Gandhi’s assassination….? It happened with a little help from the Delhi Police.
Several citizens themselves narrate that they “came across evidence of policemen in vans touring certain localities and announcing through loudspeakers the arrival of the train and the poisoning of water. In certain areas…police officials had rung up residents advising them not to drink water.”
This is just one example of the egregious collusion between the police and organised mobs…!
Eyewitnesses tell how the police were either missing, stood around as spectators, or actively participated in the killing of Sikhs.
It would rather be a willful naivete, however, to pretend that the cops were acting on their own. Victims, eyewitnesses, journalists, citizen’s groups, all agree that it was all organised and executed by Congress party netas and workers. Goons had been brought from neighbouring villages and ‘resettlement colonies’ on two-wheeler cavalcades, tempo-vans, trucks. DTC buses had been seconded to help the rioters move from place to place.
(Local Congress party workers marked homes with crosses to identify Sikh families)…!
This is why comparisons between the recent riots in North-East Delhi and the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 are misleading despite a superficial resemblance….!!
Unlike the overwhelming evidence of the role of Congress leaders in 1984, BJP leaders were themselves taken by surprise at the speed with which the fire spread this time.
It is worth recalling that on Sunday, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had blamed Kapil Mishra’s speech for the party’s defeat in the recent state elections. Tiwari had asked for Mishra to be removed.
Gautam Gambhir, former India cricket captain and BJP MP from Delhi, said Mishra’s speech was “unacceptable” and asked for “strict action” to be taken. BJP’s state vice-president Shyam Jaju, however, backed Mishra, saying that his speech was a call for peace.
The division within the BJP can also be seen in how the party’s Twitter army is divided over whether to back Gambhir or Mishra.
Even on the ground, reporters say, local level BJP leaders were divided over the mob-violence.
While, some appear to be backing it, others were seen actively protecting Muslim families. (Don’t believe…? Read the news!)
Unlike, 1984, where the foot-soldiers were marshalled by Congress leaders, the recent riots have been organised ‘from below’…..!!!
It also explains why Arvind Kejriwal has taken such a lukewarm stand on the riots….!!!
In a situation, where the popular mood is difficult to gauge or control, the political class (AAP) is unlikely to commit to anything concrete. This is also why the Delhi Police has been ambivalent in its approach towards the rioters. There was no way for an average cop on the street, or his boss, to know whether the rioters have political sanction and protection. In such a situation, acting tough could end up in a transfer or suspension.
It is tempting for politicians – even those in the opposition(Congress) – to not be seen on the wrong side of any religion and blame the centre.
The cost of such pusillanimous politics (AAP) will have to be borne by generations to come…..!