Three civilians and a Delhi Police head constable were killed and a deputy commissioner of police among 37 personnel injured as clashes over the citizenship law broke out for the second straight day in northeast Delhi. Eight CRPF companies have been deployed to quell the violence along with two Rapid Action Force companies and one company of women security personnel, News18 reported.
Prominent lawyers, journalists and some Twitter users took to social media to slam home minister Amit Shah — under whose purview the Delhi Police falls — and demanded accountability for the unfolding situation in parts of the National Capital, which is being visited by US president Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on their two-day trip to India.
That part of Delhi has been on the boil since Sunday evening, when clashes broke out between pro and anti-CAA groups near Jaffrabad over blocking of the road, while similar sit-ins were launched in several other parts of the National Capital, including Hauz Rani. The situation escalated after BJP leader Kapil Mishra called a gathering on Sunday and demanded that the police remove anti-CAA protesters within three days.
The Indian Express reported that the Delhi Police detained a 33-year-old for allegedly firing eight rounds in northeast Delhi's Maujpur. He has reportedly been identified as Shahrukh and the investigation into the incident is on.
Anti and pro-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters on Monday torched houses, shops, vehicles and hurled stones at each other in northeast Delhi's Jaffrabad and Maujpur. Violence was also reported in Chandbagh and Bhajanpura. News18 reported that some demonstrators were shouting 'Jai Shri Ram' at the Maujpur metro station amid the violence.
The Indian Express reported that the civilian killed during the protest was identified as Mohd Furqan. Ratan Lal, a head constable attached to the office of the ACP Gokalpuri, was killed and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Shahdara, Amit Sharma injured while trying to quell the protests.
Lal was injured when stones were hurled at police during the protests. Lal, a native of Rajasthan's Sikar, joined the Delhi Police as a constable in 1998 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
Sharma, a 2010-batch IPS officer, suffered injuries to his head and hand and his vehicle was set ablaze. He was admitted to Max Hospital, Patparganj and is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the official said. Sources said Sharma is unconscious and the doctors will conduct a CT scan to ascertain the extent of injuries.
Police fired tear gas and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. The police also imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, in areas affected by violence in northeast Delhi. A protester was also seen moving towards a Delhi Police personnel with a gun in his hand. He shot a few rounds in the air.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, condoling the death of the head constable, called for peace in the National Capital and said violence would not benefit anyone.
पुलिस हेड कोंस्टेबल की मौत बेहद दुःखदायी है। वो भी हम सब में से एक थे।
कृपया हिंसा त्याग दीजिए। इस से किसी का फ़ायदा नहीं। शांति से ही सभी समस्याओं का हल निकलेगा
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 24, 2020
Kejriwal, who has been widely criticised on social media for inaction throughout the day, earlier in the day urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Baijal to restore law and order in the wake of the violence.
Baijal instructed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to maintain law and order in the city. "Instructed @DelhiPolice and @CPDelhi to ensure that law and order is maintained in North East Delhi. The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for maintenance of peace and harmony," Baijal tweeted.
Images of assault go viral
Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui shared photos of a Muslim man, cowering on a street in Chandbagh area of northeast Delhi, surrounded by several men armed with sticks and poles. The man who is bleeding from his head was hit by a sharp object, Reuters reported.
The images went viral on social media, especially with netizens slamming the publication for headlining the story "Citizenship law demonstrators clash in Delhi ahead of Trump visit", with several on social media asking "where is the clash", since the image clearly shows the man being surrounded and assaulted by armed mob.
Politicos pass buck
The Congress on Monday questioned the Shah's 'silence' over the clashes in Delhi and demanded his resignation, as party leader Rahul Gandhi urged people to show restraint, compassion and understanding irrespective of the provocation. The party also blamed the Delhi police for failing to maintain law and order in the city and criticised Kejriwal for having "shaken off his responsibility", saying people of Delhi are paying the price of a political blame game.
Rahul said peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. "The violence today in Delhi is disturbing and must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion and understanding no matter what the provocation," he tweeted.
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel also condemned the violence that erupted in the northeast area of Delhi on Monday and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah "couldn't hide the violence and unrest in Delhi by building a wall". "India will not forgive the disharmony caused in 'Dilwalon ki Dilli'. I appeal to all peace-loving people to come together and defeat those who are divisive," he tweeted.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhisaid the death of a Delhi Police head constable in violence over the amended citizenship law was a "ploy" to embarrass India during US President Donald Trump's visit and likened it to the massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura in 2000 during the then US president Bill Clinton's trip to the country.
"Shocked to hear the death of HC Sh Ratanlal in a brutal & barbaric manner. This reminds me of massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura during Clinton's visit. Incidents change but anti India forces remain the same. Ploy to embarrass India, Request all to remain calm & maintain peace," she said in a tweet. Lekhi is also an MP of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), representing the New Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday held the Centre responsible for the violence that has erupted in Delhi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and appealed to all to maintain peace. "There is utmost need to maintain peace and calm. We appeal to everyone to not fall prey to rumours or incitements - Peace must be kept. The responsibility however, lies with the Union govt which has not made any attempt to address grievances of a large section of Indians," Yechury tweeted.
Centre warns of stern action
The Centre on Monday warned of stern action against those involved in the violence in the violence. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also said non-violent protests in a democratic country are acceptable but not violence which, he termed, was an attempt to dent India's image during the visit of US President Donald Trump. "My deepest condolences to the family of the Delhi Police Head Constable who lost his life amidst the protests in Delhi. Our @narendramodi government condemns all forms of violence and we assure a stern action against the culprits," Reddy tweeted.
"This has been done in the wake of President Trump's visit to India. This is an attempt to dent the image of India and Government of India. I, on behalf of Government of India, condemn the killing of the policeman in the stone-pelting incident," he told reporters. Reddy said the government has not taken any action against the protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh despite a national highway being blocked for two months. "We are taking measures in a considerate manner. We have not used any police force (to vacate the area) because it is a democratic country and peaceful protests are allowed. We will take serious step if there is any violence," he said.
The minister also slammed Rahul and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi for their support to the people who have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). "Will Rahul Ganhdi or Owaisi take the responsibility for the killing of the policeman? We are trying to resolve the issue amicably for the last two months. We are using democratic norms," he said.
The Indian Express quoted sources from the Ministry of Home Affairs as saying that the violence in the northeast districts of Delhi "appears to be orchestrated to coincide with visit of US president Donald Trump". "It will be brought under control," the sources further said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2020 08:59:30 IST