'Shah must take responsibility for violence and resign'

Union Home Minister Amit Shah must take responsibility for the violence in Delhi and resign: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi said there was a conspiracy behind the violence and tragic incidents in Delhi

"The conspiracy was witnessed during Delhi polls and BJP leaders gave hate speeches creating atmosphere of fear and hatred," Congress president Sonia Gandhi said.

Congress' interim president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday demanded resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah, holding him and the Central government responsible for a large-scale violence in parts of the North East Delhi which has claimed lives of at least 20 people so far and left nearly 200 people injured since Sunday evening.

Holding a rare press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters, Sonia also lashed out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, holding him and his government “equally responsible” for not activating the administration to reach out to the people to maintain peace and harmony.

“Where was the Home Minister and what was he doing since last Sunday? Where was the Chief Minister of Delhi and what was he doing since last Sunday? Why were additional security forces not called immediately when it was clear that the situation was beyond the control of the Delhi police?” Sonia asked.

The Congress' interim president was addressing the press conference after chairing an emergency meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who attended the CEC meeting, was present with Sonia and other senior Congress leaders on the dias during the press conference.

“After reviewing the situation, the CWC is of the firm opinion that what has happened in Delhi is a colossal failure of duty for which the entire responsibility must be borne by the Central government and particularly the Home Minister. Home Minister should immediately resign taking responsibility (for the violence),” Sonia said.

The Congress leader alleged that there was a "well-planned" conspiracy behind the violence, saying the “tragic events” since last Sunday had “a history, design and pattern.”

“It was evident even during the Delhi elections. Several leaders of the BJP made inflammatory statements clearly intended to create an atmosphere of fear and hate,” she said and referred to the BJP leader Kapil Mishar's provocative statement before the violence broke out on Sunday.

Demanding answers from the government, she asked what the reports given by the intelligence agencies in the days immediately after the conclusion of the Delhi elections and leading upto today were.

“What was the strength of the police force deployed on the night of Sunday when there were clear indications that violence will break out?” she asked.

Sonia demanded deployment of adequate security forces and formation of peace committees in mohallas to bring situation under control.

She also demanded that Delhi chief minister should remain “visible” in the affected areas and in "constant communication" with the people.

“The deliberate inaction of the Central and the Delhi governments in the last 72 hours has resulted in 20 lives been lost so far, including that of a head constable while hundreds are in the hospital,” she added.

The Congress interim president appealed to the people of Delhi to "reject the politics of hate and do their best in healing the rifts caused by these shameful events," and asked her party leaders and workers to visit affected areas to extend “all possible support” to the families hit by the the violence and help build bridges between the communities.

On behalf of the CWC, she expressed deep regret and offered sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, and wishes for swift recovery of those injured.

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