Delhi violence: Anurag Thakur ducks question on 'goli maro' remark

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS Finance Anurag Thakur and finance ministry officials pose for a photograph after giving final touches to the Union Budget 2020-21, at Finance Ministry, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came to the rescue of her deputy minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday to a question related to alleged hate speech during the campaign of the Delhi Assembly elections recently.

When a reporter asked for Thakur’s reaction on the Delhi High Court’s remarks on Wednesday, Sitharaman said, “No reaction. I am here to address the question. No reaction. Today’s meeting will concentrate on what’s been done with the banks.” Thakur, the minister of state for finance, remained silent and didn’t respond to the question after Sitharaman intervened.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday expressed "anguish" over the failure of the police to register first information reports (FIRs) against those making alleged hate speeches, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, and asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to take a "conscious decision" on this by Thursday.

A high court bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh said that if the police can register 11 FIRs in incidents related to arson, looting, stone pelting, why it did not show alacrity when it came to taking a similar action against the alleged hate speeches made by three BJP leaders -- Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra.

At an election rally during the Delhi Assembly elections, which was held on February 8, Thakur had chanted slogans of “desh ke gaddaro ko (traitors of the country)” to which the crowd had responded, “goli maaro saalon ko” (shoot the traitors) – a slogan used by other BJP leaders against the anti-CAA protesters.

“Why are you not showing alacrity when it comes to registration of FIR in these cases?... We want peace to prevail. We do not want the city to witness another 1984 riots. This city has seen enough violence and anguish. Let it not repeat 1984," the bench said. The anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 left nearly 3,000 people dead.

The court noted in its order that Special Commissioner Praveer Ranjan has assured he will sit with the police commissioner today itself and view all video clips and take a conscious decision as desired on the issue of lodging of FIRs and convey it to the court on Thursday.

The court, however, made it clear it was not confining the proceedings to the video clips of the three BJP leaders and that it will look into other clips as well.

It was hearing a plea seeking lodging of FIRs and arrests of those involved in the communal violence related to the CAA.

"We are not angry. We are anguished. A Constitutional Court's anguish is very serious and everyone should take it seriously," Justice Muralidhar said.

(With inputs from Press Trust of India)

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