BJP leader Kapil Mishra on Monday said that he did not regret the speech he delivered last year, a day before communal riots broke out in Northeast Delhi during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. He further asserted that if required, he would do deliver a similar speech again.
“Whenever roads will be blocked, and people would be prevented from going to work, there will always be a Kapil Mishra to stop that", the BJP leader said.
“I will do what I did again. I don’t have any regrets, except that I couldn’t save the lives of Dinesh Khatik, Ankit Sharma (riot victims) and many others,” he said during the launch of the book “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”.
On February 23, 2020, Mishra, had issued an ultimatum to anti-CAA protesters who were camping at Delhi’s Jaffrabad to end their agitation and threatened to "remove them" from the protest site.
Many activists and politicians termed Mishra’s speech as inciteful and accused him of being responsible for the communal clashes that ensued.
As many as 53 people were killed and many others were injured when clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of the CAA.
“What other way is there to issue an ultimatum in a democracy? I did that in front of a police official. Do people who want to start a riot give ultimatums in front of the police?” Mishra asked while defending his speech.
While the police refuted the role of Mishra’s speech in inciting the riots, a report by the Delhi Minority Commission published in July last year, noted that violence erupted soon after his speech.
Reacting sharply to Mishra's remarks, CPM leader Brinda Karat alleged that he was a "serial offender" and should have been sent to jail.
Talking about the book authored by lawyer Monika Arora, and Delhi University teachers Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, Mishra said it was an “ummeed ka diya” (a ray of hope) against the “dangerous propaganda against him”.
"It's been a year since Jihadi forces engineered the riots in Delhi, last year. Exactly the same pattern is being seen even now, like what happened on Republic Day. The so-called fringe elements are trying to sabotage the peace in the Capital, aided and funded by anti-India forces, both within and outside the country.
“Pradarshan se danga tak’ (from demonstration to riots) model is very much evident even now. That is why we need to talk about what happened last year and also the book, which exposed the forces behind them," he said.
The book launch was also attended by authors Arora, and Malhotra, as well as Doordarshan journalist Ashok Srivastava.
“Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story” was earlier in news in August last year when Bloomsbury dropped the book after facing massive backlash because Mishra was invited as a guest for a “pre-publication virtual launch”.
The publishing house said the online event was planned by the authors without their knowledge and approval, thereby resulting in Bloomsbury India’s withdrawal from the project.
The book was eventually taken up and published by Garuda Prakashan Pvt Ltd.
With PTI Inputs