New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday morning for the first time after taking charge for a new term in February, said he discussed issues related to last week’s violence, post-violence rehabilitation, and measures being taken in wake of the global coronavirus crisis.
After emerging from the 30-minute meeting, Mr Kejriwal appreciated the Delhi police for being proactive in controlling the situation when rumours were being spread on Sunday night.
He said: “The Delhi police acted in a swift manner to control the situation when rumours were spread on Sunday night. Had the police acted with the same efficiency on Monday and Tuesday last week when riots were confined in a district, so many lives could have been saved.”
“I told him (PM Modi) that we should try and ensure that such riots do not happen again in the national capital. Those who are responsible for the clashes — whether they belong to any party — should not be spared, I appealed to the Prime Minister,” Mr Kejriwal said.
On being asked about the hate speeches linked to the clashes, which killed at least 47 and injured over 250, Mr Kejriwal said: “Hate speech wasn’t specifically discussed.”
The chief minister’s meeting with Mr Modi lasted for about 30 minutes in the Parliament. Several BJP leaders, including Kapil Mishra, have been accused of making inciteful remarks amid widespread protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that led to largescale violence in the city.
Last Saturday, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari had himself admitted that “the police failed to assess the situation” and demanded “action for the lapses.”
Mr Tiwari, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from the riot-affected northeast Delhi, said: “Aaklan lagane mein chuk ho gayi. Unhone (police) socha hoga ki jaise Shaheen Bagh me chal raha hai waise hi yaha bhi log shanti se baithenge (The police failed to anticipate the violence. It probably thought that like the anti-CAA protestors are sitting peacefully in Shaheen Bagh, protesters in Northeast Delhi will also sit peacefully). But violence spread here very fast. Investigation must be done for lapses and those responsible must be punished.”
Tuesday’s meeting between the PM and the Delhi CM was the first after the AAP swept the Delhi Assembly elections. Last week, Mr Kejriwal had called on Union home minister Amit Shah over the clashes.
The Delhi police is under the BJP-led government at the Centre and the violence took place at a time when US President Donald Trump and his family were on a two-day visit to India.
Mr Kejriwal won the Delhi election for the third time in a row and came back to power with a huge majority, leaving BJP a distant second. He had even invited Mr Modi for his oath ceremony last month but the latter could not attend.
The Prime Minister was in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi to inaugurate various projects.
PM Modi had congratulated the AAP chief on Twitter. “I congratulate Shri @ArvindKejriwal on taking oath as Delhi’s CM earlier today. Best wishes to him for a fruitful tenure.”
Mr Kejriwal, in a swift response, had said: “Thank you for the warm wishes sir. I wish you could come today, but I understand you were busy. We must now work together towards making Delhi a city of pride for all Indians.”