Homes and vehicles set ablaze in Chandbagh, during communal violence in Jafrabad Area in New Delhi (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)
As violence over the amended citizenship law continued uninterrupted for the third straight day in northeast Delhi, the Jaffrabad road blocked by protesters, most of them women, since Saturday night, has been cleared by Delhi Police, and shoot-at-sight order issued in some affected areas on Tuesday.
The area had been on edge since Sunday when a rally by BJP’s Kapil Mishra to counter anti-CAA protests was followed by waves of stone-pelting.
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The death toll in the violence climbed to thirteen and nearly 150 injured were admitted to the GTB hospital. Affected areas include Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Bhajanpura, Yamuna Vihar, Chand Bagh and Gokalpuri in Northeast Delhi.
Stone-pelting in Chand Bagh, shops set ablaze
Fresh incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Chand Bagh area in Northeast Delhi on Tuesday evening. Despite Section 144 in place, which bars the gathering of more than four people, shops were set afire and stones pelted.
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The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd in the area but to no avail. Paramilitary forces have also been deployed to bring the situation under control. And IPS officer S N Shrivastava has been appointed as the new Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Law and Order) after the Union home ministry repatriated him from the CRPF to take control of the violence in the national capital.
Fresh incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Chand Bagh area in Northeast Delhi on Tuesday evening
In Maujpur, an angry mob raising incendiary slogans set ablaze a motorcycle earlier in the day. A fire brigade was also seen rushing to the spot. Security personnel tried to disperse the people from both sides who were armed with rods and sticks. They also resorted to stone-pelting. However, the crowd was more than the security personnel deployed in the area. Media personnel were also heckled and driven away from the spot.
Section 144, imposed in the area on Monday, will continue to be in force till March 24. Five stations on the Delhi Metro's Pink Line were closed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in the wake of the trouble.
CBSE exam for tomorrow postponed in 86 centres in North East Delhi
As tension in the area escalated, schools were shut and exams postponed. The CBSE has rescheduled board exams that were supposed to be held on February 26 across 86 test centres in Northeast Delhi.
"On the request of Directorate of Education, Government of Delhi and to avoid inconvenience to students, staffs and parents, the Board has decided to postpone Class 10 and 12 exams scheduled for February 26 in north east part of Delhi," the statement by the CBSE read.
US President Donald Trump, who is in India for his maiden state visit, said that while he is aware of the violence in Northeast Delhi, he did not discuss it in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said he discussed religious freedom with Modi and that it is “up to India” to deal with this “individual situation”.
Violence over the amended citizenship law continued uninterrupted for the third straight day
“We did talk about religious freedom. The Prime Minister said he wants people to have religious freedom. They have worked really hard on it. I heard about the individual attacks but I did not discuss it. It is up to India,” he said.
This is the third day of clashes in the city where US President Donald Trump arrived in Monday evening for the main leg of his two-day India visit.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Home Minister Amit Shah today (ANI)
In the wake of the growing violence, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah convened a meeting with the top stakeholders including Delhi LG Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik. In the meeting, the leaders resolved to enhance police-MLA coordination in Delhi and quell rumor-mongering in the capital. They also resolved that workers of political parties should join hands to restore peace in the city and peace committees be reactivated in all localities. Congress leader Subhash Chopra and the BJP's Manoj Tiwari and Ramvir Bidhuri were also present in the meeting.
Talking to the reporter after the meeting, CM Kejriwal said the Home ministry has assured them that adequate police force would be deployed to contain the situation. "The Home Minister had called a meeting today, it was a positive one. It was decided that all the political parties will ensure that peace returns to our city." On being asked if the Indian Army would be pressed into service to contain the situation, the chief minister said, "If it is needed then I hope...But right now the action is being taken by police...We've been assured (during a meeting with the Home Minister) that adequate number of police personnel will be deployed as required."
CM Kejriwal calls for peace, says border areas need to be sealed
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the press earlier today
Earlier in the day, CM Kejriwal held a meeting with all the party MLAs of the violence-hit areas at his residence. After the meeting, the chief minister appealed to everyone to maintain peace. Calling the situation "unfortunate," Kejriwal said the district magistrate has been asked to take out peace march with the police. He also appealed all temples and mosques in affected areas to maintain peace.
Stressing on the need to seal the borders and make preventive arrests, Kejriwal said, "MLAs of the affected areas informed me that there is a severe shortage of police force and police can't take action till they receive orders from the top. I have also asked District Magistrates to take out peace march with police in these areas. Hospitals, fire department instructed to be alert," he said. The chief secretary was also present at the meeting.
The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear tomorrow a petition filed by former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and others seeking lodging of FIRs over the recent violence in Delhi over the amended citizenship law. In the application, Wajahat Habibullah, Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad, and social activist Bahadur Abbas Naqvi have also sought a direction to authorities to ensure the safety of women sitting on protest against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh and other places in the city.
In the application, they alleged that "Kapil Mishra, who is known for making speeches to instigate crowds with violence and vandalism, carried out a pro-CAA rally next to the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station which is 2 km away from peaceful protests that were going on at Jaffrabad". While referring to media reports, the application alleged that Mishra left the place after having incited the crowd after which violence erupted in Jaffrabad and the peaceful protestors were forced to run for safety.
BJP MP Gambhir calls for action against anybody provoking people
East Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday condemned the violence in the city over the amended citizenship law and said action should be taken against any party member, "whether Kapil Mishra or anyone else", who gave provocative speeches. The MP also asked those protesting against the CAA to talk to the government instead of indulging in violence, news agency PTI reported.
Gokulpuri tyre market on Tuesday
HC to hear tomorrow plea seeking FIR, arrest of persons involved in violence
The Delhi High Court will also hear tomorrow a plea seeking registration of an FIR and arrest of persons involved in the ongoing violence. The petition filed by human rights activist Harsh Mander sought setting up of an SIT to inquire into the incident and compensation for those killed and injured in the violence. It has also sought directions to the Centre for deployment of the Army to maintain law and order in the national capital and areas where the "communal attack on people are most ferocious".
Shahdara DCP Amit Sharma, who suffered serious head injuries Monday during clashes in Northeast Delhi, underwent surgery last night and is now out of danger. Sharma suffered injuries as violence spiraled at Chand Bagh and was rushed to GTB Hospital. He underwent surgery at Max Patparganj Monday night and is now conscious.
With PTI inputs