Rajya Sabha

March 12, 2020

2002 in 2020! Children of Delhi looking for answers – HM has to be Humanity Minister now; don’t quote Gandhi and worship Godse: Derek O’Brien on the Delhi genocide

2002 in 2020! Children of Delhi looking for answers – HM has to be Humanity Minister now; don’t quote Gandhi and worship Godse: Derek O’Brien on the Delhi genocide


Sir, we will begin this by looking at the events in Delhi through the eyes of not men and women; we will begin by looking at this through the eyes of the children. Two brothers went missing for days; their bodies were later found in a drain. A 10-year-old was carrying guns and swords and firing as he was scared. Three children of a man in uniform lost their father. We have all seen the picture of a girl bashed against a wall; she was left bleeding. These are deep scars of violence which have left children damaged. We are looking for the answers for the past 12 days, not to have a debate on who wants political points but looking for three hours when we can make an attempt at healing for relief, rehabilitation and reconciliation.

These children were looking for answers and I am afraid what we heard in the Lok Sabha yesterday, this political rhetoric we heard, gave no answers to these children. If you tell them 36 hours or 700 FIRs or 12 meetings or 1984, these are not the answers, Sir. Where are the answers? Because the children of India believe that you are only half Home Minister; since you are an HM, the children of India wanted you to be a Humanity Minister too, and for that you need to feel the humanity.

Today I am hearing people who quote Gandhi but worship Godse. But I would like to remind people that this day is a significant day because on this day 90 years ago Gandhi ji started the Salt Satyagraha. Through you, Sir, I want to give some advice to the Home Minister who I heard with great attention yesterday because I wanted to see how he would react to this carnage in Delhi. He explained to us that he could not go to the riot-hit areas because there would be police going, and hence there would be distraction for everybody. So I want to take him back to the special day of Gandhi Ji in 1946 — how did Gandhi Ji react? This is in Noakhali in then East Bengal. He walked 10 km and stayed there for three months. He said, “I am not going to leave Bengal until the last embers of trouble are stamped out … If necessary, I will die here”. So those were different days.

Everything we are saying today is with the aim of winning elections. But elections cannot be the be-all and end-all of life because we all know there is enough data to suggest which is the one political party which benefits after these kinds of things happen. But I do not want to go into that.

I want to start by quoting what Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, said days after this happened, in fact, hours: “The way people have been murdered in Delhi, it is a planned genocide. I condemn it”. Again, to these children, these words won’t make any difference; whether you call it a genocide, a riot, a pogrom or a carnage, it does not make a difference.

Talking of genocide, it is a process and we need to understand this. If we look back at history, genocide did not start with the gas chambers. Zook, and you got gas chambers? No. If you look at the first genocide of 1905 or World War II, they started with the inciting of slogans. I want to draw your attention, Sir, to a difference here, without getting into any of the slogans. You use inciting slogans in Bengal, and you will be arrested within 24 hours. Nine were arrested in Bengal, nine. We do not want anyone here to get arrested because then one or two Members from here will also have to go.

Now, the way these slogans were made, the way the bigotry was spread, the way the hate was spread, it is very difficult to believe that this did not have sanction from the top. And what has to happen here? The police have to be complicit. Here, I go back to my World War II story, because the Gestapo and the German police were all part of the overall plan too. The Delhi police — for 36 hours, or 72 hours — and we are saying this with responsibility, were turned off. They were turned on again. Not that the Delhi police is a bad police force. I am sure there are many brave men there. The Prime Minister takes his time, 70 hours.

But I want to congratulate the people who did do a good job. Young boys and girls below thirty from the Indian media. I salute their courage, I salute their conviction because putting their own lives at risk, handling a Government with an absolute majority and a totalitarian view of life, they still went there and showed courage and conviction. And through you, Sir, today, I want to appeal to those media owners to stand up and show the same courage and conviction, which your young reporters showed. Don’t be scared of them, no.

Stand up, be encouraged because today I also want young India to take a look at the pictures of a judge when he is transferred from Delhi. Look at those pictures. You don’t need a single word to be said, enough said. It’s another matter that you will get threatened on the floor of one of the Houses.

Where are we headed today, Sir? Of course, this Government has achievements and as an opposition party we must acknowledge these achievements and they are big achievements. Pogroms, lynchings, a completely torn social fabric, a ravaged economy, with failing banks and job losses, damaged International standing, subverted institutions and fallen democratic norms.

For the healing touch what can we, as a political party do? In our own small way, we opened a benevolent fund, and we are trying to find out how to reach the right people because it’s not about 55 dead only; there are thousands who are homeless, and who are scared to go back to their homes. Tell us, Mr Home Minister, how will you heal? How will you reconcile? When we have been asking for this debate in Parliament for the last 10 days, you said, after the weekend you will come back.

We were not here to accuse you of what you can do or can’t do or what happened in 1984? I have a few direct questions because though I think this is a time for healing, a time for reconciling, it is also a time for asking some hard questions. Yesterday we heard from the Home Minister that all social media accounts that spread hate speeches will be brought to book. Mr Prime Minister, Mr Home Minister, you start. You are our Prime Minister and Home Minister, lead by an example — first stop following all those handles which are spreading bigotry and hate. Tell us today on the floor of the House, assure us, assure those children in Delhi.

You said Delhi police have done a good job. Then I want to ask you: If the Delhi Police did so well, why was the chain of command superceded and the NSA deployed? Answer this question today on the floor of the House. Or is the new role of the NSA to control riots?

My third one to you: You have suddenly stopped talking about the CAA, I am watching the last few speeches now, you have stopped talking about the NRC. You have stopped talking about the NRC but I haven’t said you have stopped doing the NRC. We have been warning you from before, the CAA, NRC and NPR together are a toxic combination.

My fourth one: We understand that police need facial recognition to do their job for national security. But are you using technology to identify people in a crowd? Did you admit yesterday on the floor of the House that people’s personal data is being used to identify them?

And the last one question. Can you assure us on the floor of Parliament about finding out who is responsible? Because it’s like a doctor, the patient has died and then you say, this pressure was high, that pressure was wrong. But there are 50 people dead, so who is responsible? The Home Minister has to take responsibility, there is no other way. Prime Minister has to be responsible and show this House that there should not be a second carnage, so we don’t have to go 1984, then 2002.

Now let me come to this. Did I say 2002! It’s the same thing actually. It’s the same thing. It’s two-zero-zero-two, you flip one number around, it’s two-zero-two-zero. It’s the same thing. It’s the blood on the hands, it’s the same man, it’s the same innocent blood, it’s the same sadness, it’s the same trauma, it’s the same cover-up, and it’s the same model. It is, Sir, hith ki sarkar, lashoon ka karobar. That’s the way it is, Sir, and people know this.

Sir, we want deep reconciliation, we want the wounds to be healed. Sir, let me end.
বাংলায় বলি-, ,–কাজি নজরুল ইসলামের কথা-

দুলিতেছে তরী, ফুলিতেছে জল, ভূলিতেছে মাঝি পথ,
ছিঁড়িয়াছে পাল, কে ধরিবে হাল, আছে কার হিম্মৎ?

আবার বলি স্যার-

দুলিতেছে তরী, ফুলিতেছে জল, ভূলিতেছে মাঝি পথ,
ছিঁড়িয়াছে পাল, কে ধরিবে হাল, আছে কার হিম্মৎ?

এখানে তো কারুর হিম্মত দেখছি না| এখন আমার কথায় নজরুল নয়, আছে আর এক জন।
যেখানে unity in diversity হয়—where we actually see unity in diversity, we can find the answer there, Sir. কোথায় দেখতে হবে? বাংলার গর্ব মমতা-

The boat rocks, the ocean swells, the boatman’s lost his bearings,
The sails are ripped, who will now take the helm, who has the daring?

Thank you, Sir.