Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 24
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s bilateral tomorrow, northeast Delhi turned into a virtual war zone with bloody clashes between anti and pro-Citizenship Amendment Act demonstrators leaving four persons, including a head constable, dead.
Ten Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel were among at least 50 persons injured in arson and stone-throwing of unprecedented scale as violence appeared to spiral into a riot-like situation today leading to a complete police clampdown in the sensitive area by this evening. Prohibitory orders were imposed in the entire northeast Delhi. Hours before President Trump’s arrival in Delhi today, images of rampaging mobs torching vehicles, houses and a petrol pump across multiple locations in northeast Delhi went viral on social media, provoking fear and panic.
A shocking video emerged of a man pointing a revolver at a cop and later firing several rounds into the air. Twitter was flooded with disturbing shares of a mob allegedly assaulting a man. Another Twitter post involved a frame purportedly capturing a local tyre market being set ablaze.
The authenticity of these Twitter videos could not be ascertained even as the Delhi Police said they were investigating the violence and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla assured that the situation had been brought under control.
The police earlier lobbed teargas shells and used lathicharge to disperse clashing mobs at 10 locations which were put under prohibitory orders by the evening.
Home Minister Amit Shah called an emergency meeting soon as violence escalated and Delhi saw the first casualties in CAA-related agitations that began on December 15, 2019.
Ajay Bhalla also said additional forces had been deployed to maintain peace in the affected areas.
DCP Shahadra Amit Sharma was among those injured today while Head Constable Ratan Lal, 42, was killed along with a civilian due to injuries in a stone-throwing incident in the Gokalpuri area.
As the riotous situation spread, the government stationed eight CRPF companies, including two Rapid Action Force companies and one company of women security personnel, across northeast Delhi with an eye on potential eruptions ahead of tomorrow’s Indo-US bilateral.
Several metro stations in northeast Delhi were shut and many in central Delhi closed after Jamia Coordination Committee and JNU Students Union gave calls for a demonstration at the New Delhi police headquarters building. No one was allowed in the prohibited zones.
The situation in northeastern Delhi has been simmering since the first stone-throwing incident yesterday at Maujpur where BJP’s Kapil Mishra held a pro-CAA demonstration after 100 women sat around Jaffrabad metro station to seek withdrawal of the CAA.
Mishra gave a public ultimatum to the police to clear within three days all roads anti-CAA protesters have blocked in the area.
The Government was quick to denounce today’s bloody clashes as a conspiracy to defame India while Congress president Sonia Gandhi issued a statement late Monday condoling the death of Ratan Lal and appealing to people to maintain calm and defeat the forces “out to divide India.”
Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, terming the clashes as “orchestrated”, said: “This is a conspiracy. The Congress, Rahul Gandhi, anti-CAA Chief Ministers and all those protesting against the CAA should tell us who is responsible for undermining India’s image particularly at a time when US President is visiting the country. We will bring to justice all those responsible for today’s arson. We will not spare those who indulged in violence. We will not let violence continue. There will be a thorough probe. We will deploy as much force as possible and law and order will be restored.”
As the issue took a political turn, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter to appeal for calm, as did Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who said he had spoken to the LG.
BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi equated today’s violence with the Chittisinghpura massacre in J&K. “Shocked to hear about the death of Head Constable Ratan Lal in a brutal and barbaric manner. This reminds me of the massacre of Sikhs in Chittisinghpura during Clinton’s visit. Incidents change but anti-India forces remain the same. Ploy to embarrass India, request all to remain calm and maintain peace,” she said.
Top cop sustains head injury
New Delhi: Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shahdara, Amit Sharma was injured during clashes over the CAA in northeast Delhi on Monday, a senior official said. The IPS officer suffered injuries to his head and hand. He was admitted to hospital and is in the ICU. PTI
Eight CRPF companies deployed
Apart from the police deployment, the government stationed eight CRPF companies, including two Rapid Action Force companies and one company of women security personnel, with an eye on the tense situation.
Prohibitory orders imposed at 10 locations
Soon after a high-level review, the Delhi Police imposed prohibitory orders at 10 locations across northeast Delhi and a clampdown around the Delhi Police Headquarters in central Delhi where the Jamia Coordination Committee had given a call for a demonstration
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