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Violence wracks northeast Delhi again, toll rises to 11

More than 1000 cops deployed

By Our Bureau and Agencies in New Delhi
  • Published 25.02.20, 6:25 PM
  • Updated 25.02.20, 9:21 PM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Security personnel guard a street in Bhajanpura where two groups clashed, leading to violence, in New Delhi, Tuesday, February 25, 2020. AP

Smoke billowed and mobs roamed unchecked on the streets, burning shops, pelting stones and threatening local residents as fresh violence tore through northeast Delhi killing six more people on Tuesday and taking the toll in the communal clashes over the amended citizenship law to 11.

As tension smouldered in the national capital’s northeast and the sun set over another restive day, violence cut a swathe through several localities, including Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura, with stones and other missiles hurled and shops set ablaze.

Rioters damaged two fire tenders in Gokulpuri and crowds raising incendiary slogans set on fire fruit carts, rickshaws and anything that came in their way in the epicentre of troubled Maujpur and other places.

With US President Donald Trump also in the city, Delhi police ramped up security. The police fired teargas shells to disperse the rioters — who were armed with stones, rods and even swords and wore helmets — and was assisted by paramilitary personnel.

Streets were littered with mangled remains of vehicles, bricks and burnt tyres, mute testimony to the violence and bloodshed that took on a communal taint on Monday and injured about 180 people, including 48 police personnel.

Passersby look at the charred petrol pump which was set ablaze by rioters yesterday during clashes over the new citizenship law, in Bhajanpura area of East Delhi, Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Passersby look at the charred petrol pump which was set ablaze by rioters yesterday during clashes over the new citizenship law, in Bhajanpura area of East Delhi, Tuesday, February 25, 2020 PTI

According to GTB Hospital medical superintendent Sunil Kumar, six people were declared brought dead on Tuesday, taking the death toll in 11.

At least 35 injured people were also taken to the hospital on Tuesday.

“Fifty per cent of those injured have sustained bullet injuries,” Kumar added.

As the violence continued unabated, the police said the situation was under control and flag marches were conducted in Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas and other places.

Amit Shah meet L-G, CM

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 the 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 thrashed people on the road and vandalised vehicles.

The media also came under attack.

Akshay, a journalist with JK 24X7 News, received a bullet injury and was in a serious condition in hospital, and two reporters from NDTV were beaten and punched by rioters. Many other journalists were heckled and told to go back.

Heavy security deployed following clashes over the new citizenship law at Maujpur area of East Delhi, Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Heavy security deployed following clashes over the new citizenship law at Maujpur area of East Delhi, Tuesday, February 25, 2020 PTI

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 on Monday.

“There is hardly any police presence in the area. Rioters are running around threatening people, vandalising shops. 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 said.

Imran blamed BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s tweet, giving the Delhi police an ultimatum to clear the streets of protesters and saying people would be quiet only until Trump is in India.

“Before that, everything was peaceful,” he said.

One person seen brandishing a gun before police on Monday was identified as Shah Rukh and been arrested yet.

The police said 11 FIRs have been filed.

Head constable Ratan Lal
Head constable Ratan Lal Image sourced by The Telegraph

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.

“Stop this madness,” he said after visiting the injured in GTB Hospital.

“I have met the people who were injured, also met some people who sustained bullet injuries. The biggest concern is to stop the violence. I appeal to everyone to stop the violence,” he 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.

The deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara), Amit Sharma, underwent a surgery on Monday night for the head injury sustained during the clashes.

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