As Delhi burns, its many Neros fiddle and twiddle

delhi violence 1 1

It is hardly difficult to notice the irony that the two most powerful people in Delhi have presided over, abetted and prolonged some of the worst mass-violence in India – that in Gujarat in 2002.

Yet, that was in Gujarat, a slight distance away from the capital, Delhi. It was sort of their fiefdom, their corner of the world, and they thought they could get away with their collusion and obstructions of justice.

One would have thought that unfolding violence – communal or otherwise – would be attended to with a little more alacrity in Delhi since the administration is under constant public gaze with so much of the national media based here, so many political leaders are camped here at any given time, and so many progressives, including the current administration’s favorites, the so-called Phantoms of the Urban Jungle, the Urban Naxals are on the prowl.

Yet, one again, in the instances of the latest violence in northeast Delhi, the administration has basically chosen to be invisible, silent, and atrociously deadpan. There has been no real reaction from either Amit Shah, the Home Minister or Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister.

At least 13 people have died till now and nearly a 100 injured. The violence continues unabated at the time of writing. Eleven people, in just over 2 days, in the national capital – under the very noses of the political class. And they sit there unmoved, and worse still, unashamed. Maybe one should amend that to say, uncaring.

Add to the two national-level Neros, we seem to be harboring the state-level Nero too – the Delhi CM. While stepping in early yesterday to urge the LG of Delhi to bring the violence under control, he has not exhibited any actual steps to contain the situation. This is the same person who, even as an elected official earlier, took on other elected officials for their inaction, by sitting in protests and dharnas.

The least he and his party-members could have done was to visit the localities, oversee the safety of the people to the extent they could, and arrange some proper relief operations. None of that. They have been primly watching from a distance and maintaining a respectable distance, as if it is happening not in the state they just won handily, but on another planet.

It is truly heart-rending to see how official apathy can let the worst happen uncontrolled, allowing innocent people to die, when they have the best possible law-and-order machinery at their disposal.

Many of us might not have been fully aware of the way the Gujarat 2002 violence unfolded – and many others of similar nature before and after – but now we get a real-time glimpse of officially managed and orchestrated killing of common people right in front of our eyes, in the capital city of India.
Ananda Maitreya is a Delhi-based writer and a student of social movements. He has been involved in various struggles of the marginalized people, including Dalit and Adivasi movements and the Palestinian struggle.

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