Fresh violence broke out in parts of northeast Delhi with mobs pelting stones, vandalising shops and threatening locals on Tuesday, a day after seven people were killed in violent clashes over the amended citizenship law.
Smoke was seen going up in some places and streets, including in the epicentre of the trouble Maujpur, were littered with stones, bricks and burnt tyres, testimony to the spiralling violence and bloodshed that took on a communal taint on Monday and injured about 150 people.
Schools were shut with exams being postponed and fearful residents stayed indoors as the area smouldered with tension.
Prohibitory orders, banning the assembly of more than four persons, were imposed on Monday and will continue to be in force till March 24.
A resident in Maujpur said he has seen a riot like situation such as this for the first time in 35 years. “The area had always remained peaceful,” he told PTI, requesting anonymity.
According to police sources, 48 police personnel and 98 civilians were injured in Monday’s clashes between pro and anti CAA groups at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura. Three firemen also received injuries while dousing flames in the area.
The death toll in the violence climbed to seven — six civilians and Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal — on Tuesday, a senior police official said. While Lal died of injuries sustained during stone pelting in Chand Bagh, it is not yet clear what killed the others.
With US President Donald Trump in the city, Delhi Police ramped up security in the area. It is being assisted by paramilitary personnel.
Officials said police personnel are talking to local peace committees in a bid restore amity. However allegations of police complicity in aiding and abetting the rioters who descended on localities and neighborhoods are rife. These allegations had some surprising connotations of active police connivance and even coordination, captured by cameras and tweeted and actively shared over social media. Devjyot Ghoshal tweeted, “There was some coordination, too. “Go ahead and throw stones,” one policeman shouted to protesters backing the law, during one of the running battles. Why there weren’t more cops immediately deployed is a little puzzling.”
There was some coordination, too.
“Go ahead and throw stones,” one policeman shouted to protesters backing the law, during one of the running battles.
Why there weren't more cops immediately deployed is a little puzzling. pic.twitter.com/lxgc8446EH
— Devjyot Ghoshal (@DevjyotGhoshal) February 24, 2020
Simultaneously, a senior police official when asked said “Mischief-makers are being dealt with strictly on the spot.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah called a meeting to discuss the situation in the national capital with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and representatives of different political parties.
Kejriwal, who held a meeting with senior officials and MLAs of all parties to discuss the situation, asked people to refrain from violence and said all issues can be dealt with through dialogue.
“There have been complaints that number of policemen are not enough and police is not able to take action without orders from above. I will discuss it with the Home minister,” he told reporters.
However the condemnations of the Delhi Police’s role grew vociferous as even the upright Army veterans were pained to see the arson and violence perpetrated by the criminals with impunity. Sandy Thapar, a veteran infantryman tweeted, ” Even in war, you treat wounded enemy compassionately. Here they are being abused, kicked & made to sing national anthem! By own countrymen. They are obviously protestors. Fine, get them first aid & book them. But let not the law enforcers take law into own hands. Disgraceful.”
Another Major Dahiya snubbed delhi police, saying “This is something to be ashamed of , this is not done, they r injured and need medical help not your sticks.”
— Maj Yogesh Dahiya🇮🇳 (@dahiyayogesh81) February 25, 2020
The chief minister meanwhile asked all hospital authorities to give best possible treatment to victims and asked them to stay on vigil.
He said there is a need to seal borders to prevent outsiders from coming and indulging in violence.
I have asked district magistrate to conduct peace meetings where people from all religions participate. I have asked MLAs to also participate in them,” Kejriwal said.
Five stations on the Delhi Metro’s Pink Line were closed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in the wake of the trouble.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Amit Sharma underwent an operation on Monday night for the head injury sustained during the clashes.
Police has also banned carrying of weapons and printing, circulation of “communally sensitive” material.
A delegation comprising members of the Jamia Coordination Committee, Jawaharlal Nehru Union Students’ Union, Pinjra Tod, met senior police officials and deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia late on Monday night to raise concerns about the situation.