Praising the Delhi Police's role in the communal violence that stirred the national capital last month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that they did a great job in containing the riots to a few pockets of Northeast Delhi and in bringing the situation under control in 36 hours.
The Delhi police were on the receiving end of heavy criticism for their alleged inaction during the riots from February 24-26.
Without taking names of any religion or community, Amit Shah gave Delhi riot data and said: "52 Indians died, 526 Indians injured, 371 Indian shops, 142 Indian houses gutted to fire".
He also stated that adequate police and paramilitary forces had been rushed to the affected areas soon after the first reports of violence were received on February 24 at 2 pm until the last distress call was made on February 25 at 11 pm.
"I am not undermining what happened in those 36 hours but I would like to praise the Delhi Police for bringing the situation under control in 36 hours and for preventing it from spreading further," News 18 quoted Shah as saying.
He was also heard expressing sorrow for the families of those who died in the recent violence.
Facial Software Doesn't Look At Religion
Shah maintained that prima facie the violence appears to be a pre-planned conspiracy. He stated that no incident of rioting was reported after February 25 and that a special facial recognition system was being used to analyse video footage and identify the rioters.
"After February 27, 700 FIRs have been registered, People arrested from both communities in connection with riots. 2,647 arrested. 2, 500 computer analysis taking place. We have sought info from the public," Shah said.
Regarding his physical absence during the Delhi riots, the Home Minister said that his visit would've disrupted police work.
Congress walked out in protest, while Shah was speaking.
Opposition Asked For Resignation
The opposition in the Lok Sabha demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah for failing to contain the violence in Delhi for nearly three days, even as the BJP accused the Opposition of politicising the situation to further its narrow interests.
CPM leader AM Arif hit out at the Centre for the violence in the country over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and said that if Home Minister cannot handle the situation, he should resign.
On being accused of neglecting his duties as the Home Minister while the law and order situation in Delhi worsened by several MPs, Shah responded by saying that he had got in touch with the top brass of Delhi Police as soon as he received information about the violence.
The riots broke occurred at the same as the United States President Donald Trump was on a two-day visit to India.
Shah said he did not accompany Trump to the Taj Mahal as he was busy with the police in working on ways to control the violence.
However, Shah had attended the pre-planned Trump's event at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, which is his constituency.
Did Not Attend Trumps's Events: Shah
"The programme of Mr Trump was pre-decided and since it was happening in my constituency, I had to go there. While I was there, no incident of violence was reported," said Shah.
"I was back in Delhi on February 24 at 6 pm and remained with police officers the whole time to work out how violence could be contained," he added.
Shah claimed that he supervised many review meetings throughout February 24-25 with a number of officials to monitor the situation in the riot-affected places. He further added that it was he who requested the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval to visit the riot-hit areas.
"As of today there are 80 companies of paramilitary and police forces deployed in the area," he said while stating that 17 companies of police and 13 companies of paramilitary forces were rushed to Northeast Delhi areas on February 24, with 50 more companies of paramilitary forces sent on the following day.
"Have to understand the geography of riot-hit areas, there are narrow lanes where police vans cannot reach," Union Home Minister Amit Shah replied to questions thrown at him in Lok Sabha over the North East Delhi violence.
"The population is mixed and there is a history of rioting in that area. Many people with criminal antecedents also live there and it is adjacent to the border with Uttar Pradesh," he added.
"Over 40 teams have been formed to arrest the culprits. At least 152 arms used in the violence have been recovered and we are using a facial recognition system to identify the people who committed violence," he said.
Shah reassured that the truth behind the ordeal of Ankit Sharma (an Intelligence Bureau officer whose body was found in one of the riot-affected areas) will also be unravelled using CCTV footages.
Delay In Discussing Delhi Riots
On questions pertaining to the delay in discussing the riots, Shah replied that the BJP had decided to have a discussion on the issue only after Holi "so that any statement made in this House does not further disturb the atmosphere in the area since in many cases communal violence has been observed in parts of the country around this festival".