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Delhi communal riots timeline: A blow-by-blow account of three fatal February days

What started off as peaceful protests against CAA took a violent turn last Sunday when a group of CAA supporters clashed with the protesters near the Maujpur-Babarpur Metro Station, in East Delhi. The attack occurred shortly after BJP leader Kapil Mishra allegedly warned of chaos if the police failed to clear the road of protesters within three days.

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Last Updated: Feb 27, 2020, 12.24 PM IST
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Delhi communal riots timeline: A blow-by-blow account of three fatal February days
Charred remains of a vandalised property set ablaze by rioters.
With more than 30 people dead and over 200 injured, the clash between pro and anti-CAA protestors has turned into the deadliest violence the national capital has seen in decades.

What started off as peaceful protests against the government's Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA) took a violent turn last Sunday when a group of CAA supporters clashed with the protesters near the Maujpur-Babarpur Metro Station, in East Delhi. The attack occurred shortly after BJP leader Kapil Mishra allegedly warned of chaos if the police failed to clear the road of protesters within three days.

Following the first round of unrest, Maujpur Road turned into a communally charged battle zone, with four pockets divided between the CAA’s supporters and protestors. While Kardampuri and Jaffrabad on either side protested against the law, Maujpur Chowk and Maujpur Tiraha in the middle were occupied by its supporters.

The anti-CAA protests began in mid-December with the amended citizenship law being linked to the updated NPR and NRC. What troubled many was the fear that the combination of CAA, NPR and NRC was purportedly aimed at, and could be used, against Muslims.

So, what were the last 72 hours really like? Here is a timeline of the deadly riot:

Monday
On 24th February, Section 144 CrPC was imposed at ten locations in North-east district of Delhi, with 5 metro stations on the Pink Line remaining closed. As violent protests continued, a mob set a tyre market on fire in Gokulpuri. A Delhi Police head constable lost his life and a DCP was injured in Delhi's Gokulpuri.

8 CRPF companies were deployed, including two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and one company of women security personnel.

Tuesday
Violence continued for the third day as reports of stone pelting in Maujpur and Babarpur areas were pouring in. Violence reportedly continued throughout the night in the Maujpur area, where even common people, who were travelling in the area, were attacked and thrashed.

Schools remained closed in northeast Delhi.

A high-level meeting was convened by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to enhance police-MLA coordination in Delhi and quell rumour-mongering so that the violence in the city could be stopped. The meeting, attended by Delhi LG Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik and others, also resolved that workers of political parties should join hands to restore peace in the city and peace committees be reactivated in all localities.

An armed battalion of Delhi Police, comprising around 1,000 personnel, was deployed. Late Tuesday night, police put barricades and sealed roads that lead to Ghaziabad from north east Delhi. CBSE board exams at northeast Delhi centres were postponed.

As of Tuesday night, there were the clashes had left 13 dead, with over 200 injured.

Wednesday
Death toll climbs to 17 overnight. Protestors gheraoed Delhi CM Kejriwal's residence, where the Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) and Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) had organised a demonstration.

PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah asked National Security Advisor Ajit Doval step in, monitor the situation closely and ensure the restoration of peace at the earliest.

Immediately after visiting US President Donald Trump embarked on his return flight, Ajit Doval undertook a late night tour of the riot-hit areas on Tuesday accompanied by Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, newly-appointed Special Commissioner SN Shrivastava and other senior officers.

The Supreme Court postponed hearing the Shaheen Bagh matter to March 23. The top court also pulled up the "lack of professionalism" in the police force saying it was a malaise across the country that police waited for orders before acting.

Police and paramilitary troops conducted flag marches, in areas of Northeast Delhi, and violence which began on Sunday evening finally came to a halt over 48 hours later.

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