Death toll in Delhi violence rises to ten
Arson, loot witnessed on second day running
New Delhi: The death toll in the northeast Delhi violence climbed to 10 on Tuesday and nearly 150 injured were admitted to the GTB hospital, said authorities. Four people were declared brought dead by doctors at the hospital.
“Fifty per cent of those injured sustained bullet injuries,” a doctor at the hospital said. On Monday, the violence claimed lives of five people, including Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal.
On Tuesday violent mobs torched vehicles, homes, and shops in northeast Delhi, particularly in the areas of Maujpur, Kardampuri, Chand Bagh and Dayalpur.
Though section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the affected areas,the area had been on edge since Sunday when a rally by BJP’s Kapil Mishra to counter anti-CAA protests in the area had been followed by waves of stone-pelting.
Meanwhile, thick smoke billowed in the air and mobs roamed unchecked through the streets, pelting stones, vandalising shops and threatening locals, as fresh violence broke out in northeast Delhi, a day after ten people were killed in communal clashes over the amended citizenship law.
As tension smouldered in the city’s northeast, rioters damaged two fire tenders in Gokulpuri and crowds raising incendiary slogans set on fire a bike in the epicentre of the trouble Maujpur.
Streets in many parts of the area were littered with stones, bricks and burnt tyres, mute testimony to the spiralling violence and bloodshed that took on a communal taint on Monday and injured about 150 people, including 48 police personnel.
With violence continuing unabated, Union Home Minister Amit Shah convened a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik and others to address the situation.
The meeting resolved that workers of political parties should join hands to restore peace and peace committees should be reactivated in all localities.
In scenes not seen in the national capital for decades, frenzied groups, armed with sticks, stones and rods, were seen thrashing people on the road in Maujpur and also venting their ire on e-rickshaws and other vehicles. Many journalists were heckled and told to go back.
Schools were shut and fearful residents stayed indoors as restless crowds roamed the streets, seemingly unmindful of prohibitory orders restricting the assembly of more than four people imposed by police on Monday.
“There is hardly any police presence in the area. Rioters are running around threatening people, vandalising shops. The law and order situation is extremely bad. Families need to be evacuated. We are unsafe in our own homes,” said a resident of Maujpur, requesting anonymity.
Another added that this is the first time in 35 years — possibly since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots — that he has seen a situation such as this. “The area had always remained peaceful,” he told PTI.
Police sources said 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 climbed to ten –nine 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 or who they all were.
Among those killed was Vinod Kumar, a resident of Ghonda who was brought dead to the hospital and whose body is at the morgue of the Jag Parvesh Hospital.
Also killed was Mohammad Furkan from Kardampuri, near Jafrabad, who got married in 2014 and has two children. His brother, Mohammed Imran, overcome with grief, said they were both in the handicrafts business.
“He had gone to get some food for his children. Someone told me he had been shot. I couldn’t believe it as I had met him barely an hour earlier. I kept calling him… I then rushed to GTB Hospital where I was told that he is dead. My world has crashed around me,” he told reporters, sobbing inconsolably outside the hospital.
Imran blamed BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s tweet, giving Delhi Police an ultimatum to clear the streets of protesters and saying people would be quiet only until US President Donald Trump is in India.
“Before that everything was peaceful,” he said.
With 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.
“Mischief-makers are being dealt with strictly on the spot,” a senior official said.
Though one person seen brandishing a gun has been identified, police has detained him but not officially identified him. There have been no arrests yet.
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.
The chief minister also asked all hospital authorities to give best possible treatment to victims.
He said there is need to seal borders to prevent outsiders from coming and indulging in violence.
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.
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. (with PTI inputs)