If the need arises to redo what I did on February 23, I would do it all over again, BJP leader says without showing any remorse
NEW DELHI — Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra, whose controversial speech last year is believed to have triggered large-scale communal violence in Delhi, has said that he has no regrets. In a speech on Monday, he stressed that if required, he would do it again.
“If the need arises to redo what I did on February 23, I would do it all over again,” the Indian Express quoted him as telling his audience at the launch of a book titled “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Mishra said, “except that I couldn’t save the lives of Dinesh Khatik, Ankit Sharma [an Intelligence Bureau staffer] and many others.”
In his address on February 23 last year, Mishra had warned the police administration to clear the roads occupied by those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Delhi’s Jaffarabad area. He had said that if police failed to remove the protesters then he and his men would deal with them on their own. The speech was delivered in the presence of top police officials and went viral. Mishra’s warning was blamed for the outbreak of bloody violence that lasted for days that claimed over 50 lives, majority of them Muslims.
Despite outrage and complaints, the police are yet to file any case against him. However, his speech does find a mention in the charge sheet in the riots conspiracy case which lays blame on anti-CAA activists for the violence.
While the police have ruled out the role of Mishra’s provocative speech in triggering riots, a Delhi Court earlier this month directed the Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (DCP) to file a report clarifying its stand on whether it will register an FIR against Mishra or not. The direction was issued in the application filed by human rights activist Harsh Mander.
Even as Delhi Police stands accused of shielding Mishra, his speech was cited as an example of violent speech by Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg at an internal meeting to explain what kind of speech is unacceptable and deserves to be removed from the platform.
Mishra, who has since then regularly hit headlines, blamed the anti-CAA protesters for riots and alleged that the same pattern is being seen now referring to the clashes and storming of the Red Fort on Republic Day in Delhi during farmers’ tractor rally.
“The so-called fringe elements are trying to sabotage peace in the capital, aided and funded by anti-India forces, both within and outside the country. And the ‘pradarshan se danga tak (from protests to riots)’ model is very much evident,” he said.
Giving his remarks on the book which has already hit controversy, Mishra said, “you will not find much in the book about me.”