After two days of communal clashes, an uneasy calm settled over Delhi on Wednesday, even as the toll in the deadly violence rose to 27. However, in the Delhi High Court, the police came in for severe criticism as a division bench questioned the delay in registering FIRs against three BJP leaders who allegedly made inflammatory speeches, leading up to the violence.
While the clashes have largely subsided, there was violence in some other places with shops set ablaze and the body of an Intelligence Bureau staffer found in a drain.
The CBSE Class 12 English exam scheduled for Thursday has been postponed in the northeast and parts of east Delhi in view of the turbulent situation, according to officials.
As unease prevailed in the violence-battered localities of the northeast Delhi, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for peace and harmony.
Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 26, 2020
Kejriwal, on his part, said in the Delhi Assembly, "There are two options before Delhiites. One is that we should stand together and make prosperous future of Delhi, and second is to get involved in violence. Modern Delhi cannot be built on a pile of dead bodies. We have to make Delhi a developed city through good schools and hospitals."
National Security Advisor 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.
On Tuesday, he undertook a late night tour with Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and newly-appointed Special Commissioner SN Shrivastava. According to reports, the MHA has brought in Doval to bring normalcy to the violence-affected areas in Delhi.
Toll rises to 27; 106 arrested
Sunil Kumar, Medical Superintendent of the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital was quoted by ANI as saying that the toll in the spate of violence that hit northeast Delhi this week has risen to 27. He said, "The toll has risen to 27 as three more died during medical treatment."
In the evening, the police said that 106 "miscreants" have been arrested in connection with the violence. Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said that the police had taken action using CCTV footage and other evidence.
"Till now Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs so far and 106 people have been arrested in connection with the incidents in northeast Delhi. Miscreants are being identified. We have the CCTV footage and strong evidence," he said.
'Don't want repeat of 1984 riots': Delhi HC
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court slammed the police, observing that the police does not need the court's direction to take action in relation to the violence and that the police should take suo motu action as "this is very important".
"This is time to reach out and do confidence by building. We can't let another 1984 scenario happen in this city; not under the watch of this court," a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh observed, according to NDTV. The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mandar, seeking FIR against three BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma for making hate speeches.
Justice S Muralidhar said, "When you have multiple clips of inflammatory speeches, what are you waiting for? Why aren't you registering the FIR?... You (police) showed alacrity in lodging FIRs for arson; why aren't you showing the same for registering FIR for these speeches?...When you've registered FIRs for damages to property, why aren't you registering it for these speeches? Don't you want to even acknowledge the presence of a crime?"
The court made the remarks after Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime branch) Rajesh Deo told the bench that he had not seen the clip where BJP leader Mishra allegedly made a speech instigating violence in northeast Delhi.
During the hearing, the court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared at the court on behalf of the Union government and represented the police, if they had seen the video clip of Mishra making alleged hate speeches.
While Mehta maintained that he does not watch television and has not seen those clips, Deo said he has watched the video of BJP leaders Thakur and Verma, but has not of Mishra.
On the submission made by the police officer, Justice Muralidhar remarked, "I am really amazed at the state of affairs of the Delhi Police", and asked the court staff to play Mishra's video clip in the courtroom.
After te day long hearing on Wednesday on the PIL, the court directed to police to take a "conscious decision" on filing FIR over hate speeches and inform the court by Thursday.
Kejriwal blames 'outsiders,' says Hindus and Muslims want peace
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday that rioters from outside and some political and anti-social elements were involved in the northeast Delhi violence.
Speaking in the Delhi Assembly, the chief minister appealed to Union Home Minister Amit Shah that if required, the Army should be called in to control the situation in the riot-affected areas. Kejriwal said the common man of Delhi did not indulge in violence and asserted that a modern Delhi cannot be built on a pile of dead bodies. He said everyone has suffered losses and that politics of hatred and violence will not be tolerated.
On Wednesday evening, Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia visited some riot-hit areas to take stock of the situation and interacted with locals.
He sought to know why such incidents took place and who were behind the violence in parts of northeast Delhi.
"The common man of Delhi did not indulge in violence. Some outsiders, some political elements and some anti-social elements indulged in violence. Hindus and Muslims do not fight and they want to live peacefully," he said in th Assembly.
In his earlier tweet, the chief minister said the situation has become "alarming", adding that he is writing to the Union home minister.
I have been in touch wid large no of people whole nite. Situation alarming. Police, despite all its efforts, unable to control situation and instil confidence
Army shud be called in and curfew imposed in rest of affected areas immediately
Am writing to Hon’ble HM to this effect
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 26, 2020
CBSE postpones examinations in northeast, east Delhi
The CBSE has postponed English language examinations across 80 centers of northeast and east Delhi in light of the violence that has gripped the area since Sunday.
"Considering request of Delhi government and to avoid inconvenience to students, staff and parents, the board has decided to postpone the exam for Class 12 in North East Part of Delhi," PTI quoted CBSE secretary Anurag Tripathi as saying.
"However, the exam in rest of the Delhi shall be conducted as per schedule. The next date of exam for affected students will be notified shortly," the official said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2020 07:52:01 IST