By Ashlin Mathew

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia

Just as North-East Delhi was beginning to burn on Monday, February 23, a few concerned citizens had met Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to request him to head with the police to the affected areas as houses were being set of fire and people shot. But Sisodia washed his hands off and said he was just like them and could not do anything. However, nine days after the pogrom hit parts of North-East Delhi, on Tuesday, March 3, Sisodia went to check the aftermath of the riots with the same police force.

On February 24, a few concerned citizens, Nadeem Khan, Rahul Roy, and Saba Dewan, had reached the Sisodia’s house at 10 PM to request him to take some action. “We had asked him to head to the areas which had started to burn. We told him that chief ministers and deputy chief ministers have certain police protocols, so if they had announced that they were heading to the riot-affected areas, the police would have had to accompany them. We told him that if he were to reach there, the media, local volunteers and the civil society would reach there. That would send the armed mob for cover,” explained Khan, a human rights activist.

But Sisodia was not convinced. He said that he did not think it was right to go with the police then and added that he was just as helpless as the activists. However, on Tuesday, after the orchestrated attack destroyed the homes and lives of at least 5,000 people, Sisodia headed to North-East Delhi with the same police force.

“We had reached Sisodia’s house after having approached the Seelampur Police Station and Delhi Police headquarters. At Seelampur police station no one listened to us. We attempted to go to the riot site but could not because of stone-pelting and rioting. Then we met Joint Commissioner of Police Devesh Sharma, but he also simply wasted our time. It was after that we headed out to meet Sisodia at around 10 PM,” underscored Rahul Roy. We requested the Jt. CP to send forces to the area, but no force was ordered to go to the riot-hit area.

Sisodia informed them that the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had spoken to the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and that action would be taken. However, no action was taken.

Even as the activists were with Sisodia, they got calls from people at Noor-e-Ilahi that eight people who were shot in the locality, but that too did not move the deputy chief minister.

Four days of orchestrated communal violence in the north-eastern part of Delhi have left more than 50 dead, 200 injured in one of the worst riots to hit the capital in several decades. The violence unraveled just as US President Donald Trump was scheduled to visit the country for the first time.

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