The Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah gave his reply to the questions from opposition on the Delhi riots on 11th March 2020. The speech was delivered in trademark BJP fashion – long monologue splintered with multiple claims, reeling out statistics, blaming congress, pointed jibes at opposition members raising queries and the like. Most of these statements were repeated by him again in the Rajya Sabha on the 12th of March.

There were a number of claims in it which I’ll aim to fact check in due course and this is the reason for this post.

The full speech can be viewed here…

The claims made in the speech in bullet points and the facts against it are in sub-bullets…

  • “Post 11 PM on 25th February, not a single incidence of riot occurred.” “First information on riots were received around 2 on 24th February 2020. Last information on 25th February at 11PM. At most the riots went on for 36 hours. Delhi Police was successful in controlling riots within 36 hours.”
  • “Holi is one festival where there is a possibility of feelings getting inflamed. There has been a history of riots during Holi in many provinces in India.”
  • “[Opposition] didn’t allow the session to run.”
  • “1.7 crore population of Delhi, the population of the riot hit areas (4% of area) was 20 lakhs (13% of population). Riots were happening between 20L people. Ensuring it didn’t spread to entire Delhi is a commendable job done by Delhi Police.”
  • “There are 203 police stations and violence were stopped at 12 stations.”
  • “No one has a right to break-distort facts.”
  • “I went on the 2nd day to Trump’s program. There was no incident during that time. I was back in Delhi at 6pm. I didn’t go to Taj Mahal. Next day, I didn’t go to welcome Mr. Trump at Rashtrapati Bhavan. I don’t go for lunch in the afternoon and dinner in the night. The entire time, I was sitting with Delhi Police and discussing how it can be controlled.”
    • FALSE
      • Trump was in India from 11.40 AM on 24th February till 10 PM on 25th February. Shah went to Gujarat a day prior itself! Multiple SOS of rioting on twitter by that time. Sure he did not go to other events, but we have no records of what he was doing during that time either.
  • “24th evening at 7PM. 25th morning 8AM and afternoon at all party meeting where there was Congress and AAP. 25th evening at 6.30PM, all review meetings were under my supervision.”
    • TRUE
      • The first meeting between Amit Shah and Delhi police happened on late Monday night.
  • “I instructed Ajit Doval to go [to these areas] and improve the Police morale. No one sees what is whose responsibility at such times… If I had gone, the entire police would have been after me and the task of police at that time was to calm the riot.”
  • “Special CP were appointed immediately, arrangements were made on 24th, 27th (sic) and from 25th night everything started coming under control.”
  • “The total area is 61 Sq. Km. It’s the most densely populated area in India. There are very narrow areas where, no police vans, fire brigade or even 2 wheeler of police cannot go. Most mixed population of both communities of Delhi is in North East Delhi. It also has history of riots. It also has a history of criminal elements.”
  • “On 23rd, 17th company of Delhi Police, 13 company of CRPF. In total 30 company ware already deployed in this area seeing the environment prevalent. On 24th, 40 more (sic) company of force were sent. On 25th, 50 more (sic) company sent. From 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, total more than 80 company are deployed there and still there. Striking force have been made. Armored striking force too have been made. Water Canon striking force too were made. And prompt catching of wrong doers too has been put in place.”
  • “From 25th night till 26th, we waited to see that riots don’t spread. From 27th till today, more than 700 FIRs have been registered. Total, 2647 people have been taken into custody or arrested.”
  • “CCTV footage is being analysed in more than 25 computers.”
  • “We gave out advertisements asking for footage, details and evidence from people and media houses to be sent to an email address and WhatsApp number. 1000s of video were sent to Delhi Police. I hope Ankit Sharma’s murder mystery will be solved by a video sent by some citizen.”
  • “We have started facial identification by a software. We’ve fed in Voter ID, Driving License and other government data were fed into it. Because of it more than 1100 people were identified and more than 300 people had come from UP to riot. The data from UP gave us a clear proof that this was a deep conspiracy. 40 teams are involved in arresting them day and night.”
  • “On 24th night 10 PM, UP border was sealed and still 300…”
  • “Narendra Modi government will not spare anyone from either sides who had a role to play in these riots. We are doing this process on scientific evidence (not hearsay). Witness accounts are being video graphed. All efforts are being made to ensure that no innocent is inconvenienced.”
  • “2 SIT teams have been made under leadership of senior most police officers who will investigate about 49 serious type crimes.”
  • “More than 49 arms act cases have been registered and about 122 arms used in the riots have been recovered in such a short time.”
  • “We’ve started peace group meetings from 25th evening 4pm. Till now we’ve finished more than 650 meeting with all 3… Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, Sikh, Christian.”
  • “We’ve also registered a case of conspiracy case as this riots spread so fast in such a short time.”
  • “We’ve taken out with the help of government agencies, how much amount has come via hawala, outside, organisations involved in such activities since February. We’ve arrived at a few conclusions.”
    • Goes against what was stated earlier
      • In a press release by MHA stated, “Shah noted that the professional assessment is that the violence in the capital has been spontaneous. He expressed confidence in Delhi Police and said that the force has shown maximum restraint to get the situation under control.”
  • “Delhi Police has arrested 3 people who had financed these riots. 1/2 people related to IS were arrested. 1 who was spreading false international footage among people via social media was arrested. Another senior team has been made to investigate 10 matters related to riots.”
  • “Any one who dared to do riots will not escape the law even by an inch (sic).”
  • “Arrests will be made of only those people against whom we have strong, solid evidence.”
  • “We didn’t passed this CAA bill like Andhra bifurcation bill… Closed the doors, tinga gang, throwing out the legislators. We passed it democratically after listening to people, answering their queries and then voting on it.”
  • “Which clause in CAA is taking away the Citizenship? There is only a clause of giving citizenship to persecuted.”
  • “On these refugees who’ve come in, since independence, at 27 places religion has been mentioned regarding Visa and citizenship. This is not the first time. It has happened the maximum during Congress’ time.”
  • “I know of 25 acts that are there on the basis of religion. What is Muslim personal law?”
  • “There was a statement that anti CAA rallies were peaceful and pro CAA rallies were violent… Before 24th February, there were more pro CAA rallies than anti CAA ones across the country… Lakh-lakh rallies had taken place, I had gone to more than 27 rallies myself.”
  • “On 14th December, there was a rally by a large party. The leader of the party says, get out of home, it’s a fight of this or that, its a matter of existence. Another senior leader says, if you don’t get out now, you’ll be called nincompoops. Isn’t this a hate speech? After this on 16th December, Shaheen Baug protests started. This thing started from that.”
  • “The hate speech the opposition is referring to (Kapil Mishra) is being investigated. But nothing happened after that.”
  • “On 17th February, an organisation called ‘United Against Hate’ where a speech was made. There they say, we pledge that when Donald Trump arrives at India on 24th February we’ll should come on the road and tell him what the Indian government is doing. And riots started on 24th.”
  • “Then in 19th February, Waris Khan Pathan, we have to snatch what is not giving to us. 15 crore of us will be mightier than 100 crore of them. Come out on the roads. After these provocative speeches, on 22nd February night and on 23rd February morning, at 8, 9 places in Delhi, different types of protests and uttejit environment happen. Which led to riots.”
  • “About 60 accounts on social media stared on 22nd and shut on 26tg. That is why this is a a conspiracy. 25 cases of IT act have been registered. Hope these guys [opposition] don’t come to their rescue later.
  • “When we identify those who’ve damaged the property, we’ll confiscate their entire property…”
  • “We’ve written a letter to the Chief Justice of Delhi  High Court to name a High Court Judge to investigate this property destruction matter. The registrar has handed over the letter to the Chief Justice today.”
  • “52 Indians have died. I won’t name them as Hindu, Muslim. 526 Indians have been injured. 371 Indian shops have been set on fire and 182 Indian homes have been gutted in fire.”
  • “Temples too have been set on fire, not just mosques.”
  • “IB officer, Sharma had 400 stab wounds on his body.”
  • “In India’s history, 76% of those killed in riots have happened during Congress rule. You have no moral right to talk about riots.”
  • “I never said when a big tree falls, the earth beneath shakes.”
  • “3000 sikh brothers were burnt and hacked overnight. What happened? What have they done? Did you investigate? Till BJP came to power not one congress party man was caught – from ’84 to ’14.”
  • “[on police stone pelting] We’ve fully analysed the video. They were 300 meters away, firing tear gas. But, when stones were pelted from all sides, they pelted [stones] in return to scatter rioters, weren’t firing bullets”
  • “More than 5000 tear gas shells were fired. More than 400 bullets were fired.”
  • “To suppress riots in such a densely populated area in 36 hours and in a city like Delhi where in every district and ward, mix communities live, not allowing riots to spread was their priority.”

Sadly the Lok Sabha has become a place of such loose statements and propaganda.