Death Toll in Northeast Delhi Violence Rises to 27; Police Say 106 Arrests Made So Far, 18 FIRs Filed
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
Heavy presence of police and paramilitary personnel was seen in violence-hit areas, including Shiv Vihar, Gokalpur, Jaffrabad, Maujpur and Chand Bagh. People mostly kept indoors as prohibitory orders were imposed and police personnel conducted flag marches.
New Delhi: The death toll in the deadly violence that has rocked parts of Delhi for two days rose to 27 on Wednesday. While 25 casualties were reported from Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, two were reported from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital.
While a brittle quiet settled over parts of riot-hit northeast Delhi on Wednesday, violence was reported from some other places, with shops set ablaze and the body of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer found in a drain in Chand Bagh.
The Delhi Police said 106 people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the violence and 18 FIRs registered.
No untoward incident was reported on Wednesday and PCR calls from North East Delhi have reduced," said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Mandeep Singh Randhawa. The police also released two helpline numbers -- 011-22829334, 22829335 -- for people to reach out during distress and any information related to violence. People can also share details on helpline number 112.
Randhawa said all those miscreants who created trouble are being identified and there is CCTV footage and strong evidence.
As police conducted flag marches and security personnel spread out across the northeastern edge of the national capital in a bid to quell the violence raging since Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first reaction appealed for peace and brotherhood.
Asserting that it was important for calm to be restored at the earliest, Modi said on Twitter, "Had an extensive review on the situation prevailing in various parts of Delhi. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy."
In the evening, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval visited some riot-hit areas.
"What has happened has happened. Inshallah, there will be complete peace here," he said as he walked through the mostly-mixed neighbourhoods and congested lanes of northeast Delhi and met locals.
Doval on Tuesday had undertaken a late-night tour with Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and newly-appointed Special Commissioner SN Shrivastava. The latter’s appointment came in the wake of Patnaik facing flak for failing to curb the spiralling violence in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's visit, said sources.
Heavy presence of police and paramilitary personnel was seen in violence-hit areas, including Shiv Vihar, Gokalpur, Jaffrabad, Maujpur and Chand Bagh. People here mostly kept indoors as prohibitory orders were imposed and police personnel conducted flag marches.
One of the worst hit areas, Shiv Vihar wore a deserted look with large deployment of police and paramilitary personnel. Several shops and houses were gutted in rioting in the area in the past two days.
Death toll rises
On day three of the trouble, the death toll rose from 13 on Tuesday to 27 on Wednesday.
Calling the situation in northeast Delhi "alarming", Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Army should be called in as the police is "unable" to establish control.
At the Delhi Legislative Assembly, Kejriwal said the common man of Delhi did not indulge in violence and alleged that outsiders, some politicians and anti-social elements, were behind it. He also announced Rs 1 crore compensation for the family of Rattan Lal, the Delhi Police Head Constable who lost his life in the violence on Monday.
Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia later visited the violence-hit areas.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury described the violence as a "chilling reminder" of the 2002 Gujarat riots and demanded that the Army be called to control the situation.
The CBSE announced that the Class 12 English exam on Thursday has been postponed in the northeast and parts of east Delhi in view of the turbulent situation.
Political slugfest breaks out
Holding the Centre and the Delhi government responsible for the violence -- perhaps the first time since 1984 that the city has seen such scenes of communal mayhem – Congress president Sonia Gandhi called for the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.
"The conspiracy was witnessed during Delhi polls and BJP leaders gave hate speeches creating atmosphere of fear and hatred," she said.
The slugfest continued with the BJP, in turn, accusing Gandhi of politicising the violence.
"Violence is ending. Investigation is on to find out the truth and identify culprits... At such a time, attacking government and politicising violence is dirty politics," said Union minister Prakash Javadekar, adding that it also demoralises police.
That was also a concern of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who asked a Supreme Court bench not to make any adverse observations relating to the violence as it will demoralise the police force.
An apex court bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph lashed out at law-enforcing agencies for allowing the "instigators of violence" to get away and said they should act as per law without waiting for somebody's nod.
"If somebody makes an inflammatory remark, police has to take action," it said.
The Delhi High Court also reprimanded Delhi Police, directing it to file FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvez Mishra for their hate speeches.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia issued advisories to their citizens, asking them to exercise caution and avoid violence-hit areas.
(With inputs from PTI)