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Delhi violence: Toll rises to 13 as North-east Delhi stays on the boil

Home minister Amit Shah meets CM Kejriwal & LG Baijal, urges citizens and political parties not to spread rumours. The police registered 11 FIRs under charges of murder, rioting, arson and destruction of public property and deployed 65 companies including paramilitary detachments. It’s estimated that more than 180 people including 56 police personnel were injured.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 09.13 AM IST
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In pic: Fresh violence was reported on Tuesday from Bhajanpura, Gokulpuri and Maujpur. Rioters damaged shops, set vehicles ablaze and attacked commuters.
NEW DELHI: At least 13 people have been killed and several injured in communal clashes across north-east Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that prompted Union home minister Amit Shah to step in on Tuesday, issue an appeal and hold conversations with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Shah, who also met Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, urged the public as well as political parties, to “desist from spreading rumors”. “Political parties should cooperate with police to quell these rumors and dispel fear among public,” Shah said.

Earlier in the day last rites of 42-year-old Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal, who was killed in the clashes on Monday, were performed. Another senior police officer who sustained an injury remains critical.

The police registered 11 FIRs under charges of murder, rioting, arson and destruction of public property and deployed 65 companies including paramilitary detachments. It’s estimated that more than 180 people including 56 police personnel were injured.

The violence started on Sunday allegedly after an inflammatory speech by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra where he can be heard warning anti-CAA protesters, who had gathered ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit, of dire consequences.

Drones Deployed for Surveillance
On Tuesday, fresh violence was reported from others parts of northeast Delhi — Bhajanpura, Gokulpuri and Maujpur among others — in which rioters damaged fire tenders and set vehicles on fire while chanting incendiary slogans.

As the violence spiralled, streets in many parts of these areas were littered with stones, bricks and burnt tyres while several shops were damaged and looted, officials said. Groups of young men armed with sticks, stones and rods were seen attacking commuters on the road.

As many as six journalists were reportedly roughed up while many others were heckled as they covered the clashes, which started out as between pro-CAA and anti-CAA protesters but have now acquired a communal colour. The rioters, police said, defied section 144 of CrPC imposed in most parts of the north-east Delhi that prohibits assembly of four or more persons.

Delhi Police on Tuesday deployed drones to keep an eye on the miscreants and maintain peace while carrying out a flag march in Bhajanpura and Khajuri Khas later during the day. These parts of the city had witnessed arson and stone pelting earlier in the day.

Kejriwal, for his part, called a meeting of all party MLAs of the violence-hit areas and senior officials from different departments. “I appeal to everyone with folded hands to refrain from indulging in violence, all issues can be dealt with through dialogue,” he added.

In the violence-affected areas, appeal must be made from temples and mosques to maintain peace. I have also requested chief secretary to ask police commissioner to increase the number of police officers and also give power to local police officials,” Kejriwal said.

Schools and colleges will continue to stay closed on Wednesday in the district while Delhi Metro’s Pink line remained shut for the second consecutive day. Meanwhile, the Central Board of Secondary Exams (CBSE) has postponed board exams at north-east Delhi centres.

The cops said they have identified the youth who had brandished a gun before a policemen on Monday. “Several youths including the suspect identified as Shahrukh has been detained. Some of them will be arrested soon,” said a senior police officer.

Meanwhile, the Union home minister also cautioned against any criticism of the Delhi Police. “Unnecessary and unwarranted criticism can have a negative impact on the morale of force,” he said. Shah wrote a letter to the family of head constable Lal expressing his condolences on the cop’s untimely demise.

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