Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday let a party delegation to visit areas of north Delhi that have recently been hit by violence. Several days of unrest and clashes between those protesting the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and those who support it had left 47 people dead and over 200 injured.
Gandhi who had been out of town at the time of the incidents, appeared to be playing catch-up on March 4 as he visited a private school in the Brijpuri area of the city. He was accompanied by several other Congress leaders, including K C Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K Suresh, Mukul Wasnik, Kumari Selja, Gaurav Gogoi and Randeep Surjewala.
While not present, it would appear that Gandhi had kept himself abreast of the developments in Delhi. On February 24, Gandhi had taken to Twitter to call the violence "disturbing" and said that it must be "unequivocally condemned".
"Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion and understanding no matter what the provocation," he had added.
Two separate delegations of Congress leaders visited different areas in northeast Delhi. Gandhi and the team accompanying him visited the 32 year old Arun Modern Public Senior Secondary School which now bears gutted classrooms and burnt buses. They then visited a nearby mosque that had been affected.
Claiming that India was being "divided, burnt", Rahul Gandhi said that violence and hate were enemies development and would not "benefit Bharat Mata".
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday Gandhi added, "This (school) is India's future. Hate and violence has destroyed it. Nobody has benefited from this."
The other delegation, comprising mostly MPs, left in a bus from the Kerala House here and included Hibi Eden, Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Abdul Khaleque. Their first stop was Chand Bagh where they met shopkeepers and asked them about the losses they suffered.
Earlier, at the time of the violence in Delhi, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had held a press conference to condemn the same.
She had also called for Home Minister Amit Shah's resignation.
While it remains unclear where exactly Rahul Gandhi had gone while out of the country, it did not stop opposition leaders from commenting on the topic.
Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri on Wednesday wondered whether Gandhi had been tested for the coronavirus, following his "return from Italy".
"Rahul Gandhi has recently returned from Italy. I don't know if he was checked at the airport. Before going among the people, he should first tell whether he underwent medical checkup for detection of coronavirus. It is important for the safety of the people," Bidhuri said after Gandhi visited the affected areas of the city.
There has been a surge in coronavirus cases in India with the tally rising to 28. Many others have been placed under quarantine.
(With inputs from agencies)