As the toll in the violence that gripped northeast Delhi for the third consecutive day on Tuesday rose to 13, the Ministry of Information and Broadcast issued an advisory to news channels saying that "be particularly cautious" with content that is likely to "encourage or incite" violence or that "promotes anti-national or communal attitudes". The advisory also said that private TV channels should refrain from airing content that "contains attacks on religious communities".
The advisory came at a time when the Delhi Police, the Central and state governments were scrambling in an attempt to quell the violence that erupted over the Citizenship Amendment Act. While incidents of arson and stone-pelting also occurred in affected areas on Tuesday, several journalists were beaten up and asked for their "identity" by mobs in several areas.
The violence-hit areas in northeast Delhi include Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chand Bagh, Khureji Khas, Bhajanpura, Kardampuri, Gokulpuri, and Khajuri.
Various authorities, from Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to the Delhi Police, faced criticism from the public for inadequate action as violence escalated since Sunday. Shah chaired third meeting on Tuesday night, just hours after a high-level meeting with Kejriwal and Delhi LG Anil Baijal, while the chief minister visited the injured admitted in the GTB hospital.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia announced that all public and private schools in the district will remain shut on Wednesday and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) postponed the board exams for Class 10 and 12 scheduled on Wednesday in violence-affected northeast Delhi. There are a total of 86 centres in the district, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, in a rejig of the state police's top brass, a 1985 IPS batch officer, SN Shrivastava was appointed as Special Commissioner (Law and Order) of the Delhi Police with immediate effect on Tuesday. The police also issued shoot at sight orders in the affected areas, however, there was confusion initially over the veracity of the order with some reports quoting police sources as saying there were was no such instruction.
Confusion also prevailed about whether curfew had been imposed in the Maujpur, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, and Karawal Nagar areas of the district.
The wreathe-laying ceremony for Ratan Lal, the head constable of the Delhi Police who lost his life in the violence on Monday, was conducted on Tuesday and was attended by Baijal, among others.
Journalists beaten up, shot at
A journalist with JK 24 7 News received a bullet injury and two reporters from NDTV were beaten and punched by rioters in northeast Delhi. Akash from JK 24 7 News sustained a bullet injury while covering the communal clashes in the Maujpur area and was in "critical condition" on Tuesday afternoon, the news outlet tweeted. He was admitted to a hospital soon after the incident.
NDTV said its journalist Arvind Gunasekar was hit by rioters while he was at one of the spots in northeast Delhi. His fellow reporter, Saurabh, who tried to shield him, was punched, PTI reported. Three other reporters of the channel were also assaulted by mobs in different locations. According to an NDTV report, Gunasekar lost three teeth in the incident.
Many other journalists also took to social media to share tales of how they were heckled and some alleged they were questioned about their religious identity. On Monday, too, reporters had a tough time with many of them threatened and heckled.
Delhi Police says 'adequate' forces deployed
Amid reports quoting Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik as telling the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the lack of adequate forces to control the violence had "aggravated" the situation, Patnaik denied that the Delhi Police hadn't got adequate forces from the MHA to control the violence.
"Some news agency ran the news that the Delhi Police said that they have not got adequate forces from the MHA. This information is wrong. The MHA is continually supporting us. We have adequate forces," Patnaik told ANI.
"From yesterday, the Delhi Police are appealing to the public to maintain peace. We are exercising restraint but will act tough on the perpetrators of violence. Strict legal action will be taken against them. Sufficient police force, CAPF and senior officials have been deployed in the northeast district. Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in some areas of the district," he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, PTI reported that an armed battalion of the state police comprising around 1,000 personnel, had been deployed. Several companies of paramilitary personnel like the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were also deployed. The security forces also held flag marches in areas like Khajuri Khas, which saw fresh violence on Tuesday.
The police also said that 11 FIRs have been filed in connection with the violence.
Maujpur, Khajuri Khas, Bhajanpura areas remain restive on Tuesday
Violence continued unabated in the Maujpur, Khajuri Khas, and Bhajanpura areas among others on Tuesday. In Maujpur, two groups of people were out on the road armed with rods and sticks, PTI reported.
An angry mob raising incendiary slogans set ablaze a motorcycle in Maujpur, a PTI reporter witnessed. 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, covering the incidents, were also targeted. They were abused, heckled and driven away from the spot. The stretch between the Jafrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur metro stations were filled with stones and burnt vehicles.
The injured people were rushed to hospitals in police vans to the local hospital.
In Khajuri Khas and Bhajanpura, the police conducted flag marches after the areas witnessed arson and stone-pelting. A battery shop was set on fire in Bhajanpura. The shop was vandalised and burnt batteries were strewn on the road.
Rakesh Kumar, a local, said the incident took place at around 3.30 pm. "We do not know how the situation escalated. We are worried about our safety. My family is scared after seeing such a thing near our house," he said.
Special Commissioners of Police Satish Golcha and Praveer Ranjan led the flag march.
Jafrabad protest cleared
Women who were protesting against the CAA outside Jafrabad metro station here vacated the road on Tuesday evening, PTI reported. They were protesting at the spot since Saturday night against the new citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Police, along with locals, vacated the road after the area witnessed violence in the last couple of days. "As the situation escalated since Sunday, police and locals vacated the road outside the Jafrabad metro station. We also asked the outsiders, who were creating issues in the area, to leave," Naushad, one of the protesters, said.
There is a protest already going on near the main Seelampur road against the citizenship act.
It was this protest that BJP leader Kapil Mishra referred to in his 'ultimatum' remark, demanding that the police clear the road.
Receiving death threats: Kapil Mishra
Facing flak for his speech during a gathering in favour of CAA at Maujpur Chowk in northeast Delhi, Mishra remained defiant on Tuesday saying he was not scared of the "massive hate campaign" against him for "speaking truth" and supporting the CAA.
Mishra, a former AAP MLA who unsuccessfully contested the recent Assembly polls on a BJP ticket from Model Town, led a gathering in support of the CAA at Maujpur Chowk in Jafarabad area on Sunday, after which violence erupted between pro- and anti-CAA groups.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Mishra said that he was being abused and issued "death threats" and stressed that he did not commit any crime by supporting the amended citizenship law.
"I have received calls by many to kill me. Many people including politicians and journalists are abusing me. But, I am not scared because I have not done anything wrong," Mishra told PTI.
BJP's East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday supported strict action against anyone, including Mishra, if they gave "provocative" speeches.
MHA asks political parties to co-operate with Centre
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday evening was quoted by ANI as saying that Home Minister Amit Shah appeals to the public to desist from spreading rumours and added that "political parties should cooperate with police" to quell these rumours and dispel fear among the public. He also appealed to the public at large and media to communicate responsibly and avoid spreading rumours.
"Home Minister Shah has asked the Police Commissioner of Delhi to have senior police officers present in Police Control Rooms so that rumours can be dispelled as quickly as possible," the statement said.
SC, HC to hear pleas regarding Delhi violence tomorrow
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear an application, filed by former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and others, seeking direction to the police to lodge FIRs on the complaints regarding the violence in Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The application was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, which said it would be heard on Wednesday.
The bench is already scheduled to hear two pleas seeking removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of agitation against the CAA for over two months.
The fresh application, filed by Habibullah, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and social activist Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, has also sought a direction to the authorities to provide adequate security and ensure the safety of women protesters at Shaheen Bagh and other places in the National Capital.
In their fresh application, they have alleged that on 23 February, "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 two kilometres away from peaceful protests that were going on at Jaffrabad".
Referring to a media report, the application alleged that Mishra first gathered supporters near the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station and in an "orchestrated move", he left the place after having incited the crowd, after which violence erupted in Jaffrabad and the peaceful protestors were forced to run for safety. It alleged that the persons who were hurt in the attack on 23 February, had filed complaints with the police but no action was taken against the perpetrators of violence.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court said it would hear on Wednesday a plea seeking registration of an FIR and arrest of persons involved in the violence.
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Justices GS Sistani and AJ Bhambhani for an urgent hearing on Tuesday itself, but the bench said it will hear the matter on Wednesday.
The petition filed by human rights activist Harsh Mander and activist Farah Naqvi sought setting up of an SIT to inquire into the incident and compensation for those killed and injured in the violence. Advocate Sneha Mukherjee, while mentioning the plea, said they are seeking that action be taken against certain individuals who are inciting people and making hate speeches due to which violence has erupted in various areas of northeast Delhi.
It has also sought directions to the Centre for the deployment of the Army to maintain law and order in the city and areas where the "communal attack on people are most ferocious".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2020 00:11:14 IST