Rinku Sharma murder: Bid to pre-empt, corner BJP behind AAP new stance

"The law and order situation in Delhi has badly deteriorated. Many such incidents show that the MHA has failed to maintain the law and order situation in Delhi. We strongly condemn this gruesome killing and urge the MHA to take urgent steps…," said AAP.

Last Friday, the AAP held up the Rinku Sharma murder case as yet another instance of law and order breakdown in the national capital.

“The law and order situation in Delhi has badly deteriorated. Many such incidents show that the MHA has failed to maintain the law and order situation in Delhi. We strongly condemn this gruesome killing and urge the MHA to take urgent steps to restore people’s faith in the law and order system of Delhi,” the AAP said in a statement on February 12.

Two days later, AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, based on statements by the youth’s family, linked the murder to Sharma chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and said even Hindus were not safe under the BJP. At a rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia echoed the statement, telling a news channel: “It is unfortunate that murders are taking place for saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and the BJP keeps mum. Today, it has become unsafe to say even ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the country. If this slogan cannot be raised in India, then where should one raise it? In Pakistan?”

The AAP also demanded Rs 1 crore compensation from the Centre for the victim’s family.

According to top party leaders, the AAP’s apparent shift in stance is to prevent being painted into a corner by the BJP; in fact, the Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta has been questioning the CM’s “silence” on Sharma’s murder.

Sharma, 25, was killed on the night of February 10 in Mangolpuri. The Delhi Police, which has arrested five people in connection with the murder, has so far maintained that it was a fallout of a business rivalry.

But the VHP and fringe outfits led by self-styled saffron leaders like Updesh Rana as well as the BJP have been camping in the area, claiming that Sharma was killed over participation in the Ram Mandir donation drive.

Said an AAP leader: “Even if one is to assume that he was killed for raising the slogan, is not the BJP, under which the Delhi Police falls, responsible? We wanted to expose how the BJP was essentially attacking its own governance.”

The AAP leadership believes the Shaheen Bagh movement and the Northeast Delhi riots have led to a situation where “the BJP needs to be countered aggressively”.

In Delhi, Muslims influence the outcome of 12-14 assembly seats, “and the community recognises that we are best placed to defeat the BJP”, said a leader.

But the recent campaign, which also involves putting up posters on social media saying “Hindus are being killed daily”, has left some in the party uncomfortable. “We pushed a similar narrative in linking the Shaheen Bagh protests with the BJP. But I doubt if that playbook to emerge as the better party for Hindus would help us expand nationally,” said a leader.

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