Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the government had wanted to discuss the recent spate of violence in Delhi after the Holi festival in order to avoid a communal flare-up. At least 53 people were killed and over 200 injured in the violence.
"I express grief and pay homage to all those who lost their lives in Delhi violence," the Home Minister said in the Lok Sabha.
Shah said that he appreciated the work of the Delhi police in controlling the situation and for "not allowing the riots to spiral". He also praised the police for controlling the riots within 36 hours.
"I would like to place on record that after February 25, no incident of rioting took place. There have been attempts to politicise these riots," he said.
"I didn't attend events in Delhi during US President Trump's visit as I was sitting with Delhi police to control violence," he said, adding that he had requested National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to visit the violence-affected areas.
"US President's programme was pre-scheduled, it was in my constituency, my visit there was also pre-scheduled. The next day, when the US President visited Delhi, I wasn't present at any event. The whole time I was sitting with Police officers. I only requested the NSA to visit the area," Amit Shah said.
Defending his decision to not visit the affected areas Shah said that he did not want the police to divert resources towards security arrangements for him.
"You can question me and that is your right but nobody has the right to play with facts," the Home Minister said.
The Opposition, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday had demanded Shah's resignation for failing to curb the violence for nearly three days. The BJP on the other hand accused the Opposition of politicising the issue to further its narrow interests.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi had said that the recent incidents of violence in the North-East Delhi were in the making for months.
She also criticised the Congress party, stating that "some people have the history of setting things ablaze."
Shah however contended that the opposition had indulged in hate speech.
"Opposition party leaders in rally in Ramlila ground instigated public, said time for 'battle to finish'. Isn't this hate speech?" Shah asked.
Shah also referenced AIMIM leader Waris Pathan's comments earlier in February where he had said that says 15 crore Muslims can 'dominate' 100 crore Hindus.
"They tell us that we've kept our women in the front - only the lionesses have come out & you're already sweating. You can understand what would happen if all of us come together. 15 cr hain magar 100 ke upar bhaari hain, ye yaad rakh lena," the former Byculla MLA was heard saying at a Karnataka rally in February.