Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Delhi Riots 2020: Where Were The Leaders When Goons Killed, Burned And Looted?

Always vocal over BJP tearing apart India's secular fabric, what do AAP and Congress have to show for action to douse the fire?

Delhi Riots 2020: Where Were The Leaders When Goons Killed, Burned And Looted?
Delhi Riots 2020: Where Were The Leaders When Goons Killed, Burned And Looted? Photo by PTI

Riots are like nucleus events in India’s politics. A lot of it is conducted as if in a lead-up to them, and a lot of it flows from those periodic cataclysms, as a consequence. Politicians are naturally interested in their ebb and flow, like investors tracking ­stockmarket indices. A curious ambivalence marked that day, February 24, at the grandiose but unusually deserted BJP headquarters in Delhi. The few mid-level leaders present were glued to the television, watching the Modi-Trump bonhomie fill the air at Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium. Then the channel broke for ‘other headlines’. Chiefly, the violence in northeast Delhi. At the centre of all the news then: a small-time Delhi party leader called Kapil Mishra.

Mishra’s antics were eliciting strong disapproval. “Why is he doing this?” asked a leader. “He wants to be the Delhi state president. Manoj Tiwari is under fire and Mishra is trying to ­endear himself to the top,” replied ­another. Mishra couldn’t have found a more fertile ground, explains a party leader with roots in the city. “It takes little to trigger passions in northeast Delhi. It has a huge desi migrant population—from Bihar and UP—as also Bangladeshi immigrants. It’s always been a flashpoint, whether in 1984 or 1992. Right now, with Muslims living in fear of CAA-NRC, it’s easy to play on their insecurities,” he adds.

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