Fresh violence took place in Khajuri-Karawal Nagar area in North East Delhi on Feb 25 morning. Images by Mukund Jha.
As Northeast Delhi continues to simmer following violent clashes mainly between groups of anti-CAA and pro-CAA protesters, violence has continued unabated in Maujpur area through the day, with two groups of people out on the road armed with rods and sticks.
On the other hand, quoting GTB Hopsital officials, PTI has reported that the death toll rose to nine on Tuesday evening. Four people were declared brought dead by doctors at the hospital on Tuesday, they said. Thirty-five injured people were also brought to the hospital, the authorities added. Fifty percent of those injured sustained bullet injuries," a doctor at the hospital said.
An angry mob raising incendiary slogans set ablaze a motorcycle in Maujpur on Tuesday, 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.
The area remains tense, a day after violence over the amended citizenship law claimed five lives including that of a head constable. Schools have been shut with exams being postponed and fearful residents stay indoors as the area smoulders with tension.
According to locals, at least 30 vehicles were torched on Tuesday morning, along with a few shops. They alleged that the police were present when the mobs indulged in arson, but did not act.
Even in the afternoon, the pro-CAA protesters remained gathered in large numbers, brandishing swords, sticks and rods. According to the sources present on the ground, there has been no attempt at removing these protesters on behalf of the police or the paramilitary forces so far.
At Maujpur Chowk, a few women protesters vandalised a few shops in the area. In Bhajanpura as well, a Maruti Suzuki showroom, a tyre factory among other shops were vandalised. According to the Delhi Police, incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Brahmapuri and Maujpur areas on Tuesday morning, but details regarding any injuries have yet not emerged.
According to the locals NewsClick spoke with, a mob has broken an electric pole, as a result of which electricity supply was interrupted at Kalyan Cinema and in some areas of Ghonda.
As angry mobs ran riot in the Bhajanpura-Yamuna Vihar area all through Monday night and Tuesday morning, residents recalled the fear they underwent, with an elderly man pleading with folded hands before the rioters to spare him as he returned from a hospital where his grandson is undergoing treatment.
"I was returning from Ganga Ram Hospital where my grandson is admitted. It was really difficult reaching back home. I had to plead with folded hands with both the groups who were present on the roads after every few steps.
“The force is inadequate. Also, they are there but not doing anything… I fail to understand why,” said another Yamuna Vihar resident said, requesting anonymity.
The series of clashes began after Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra on Saturday made provocative statements, leading a pro-CAA mob at Maujpur Chowk, with DCP, Northeast Delhi, Ved Prakash Surya, standing next to him. Giving three-day ultimatum to Delhi Police to clear roads in Jaffrabad and Chadbagh, he had said, “DCP is with us. I’m making one thing clear on all our behalf—we will hold our peace until Trump leaves. After that, if roads are not cleared out, we won’t even listen to you (the police).”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday has agreed to hear an application filed by former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and others seeking lodging of FIRs with regard to the violence in Delhi. The application was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench of justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph. The bench agreed to hear the matter on Wednesday.
In the application, Habibullah, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, and social activist Bahadur Abbas Naqvi have also sought direction to authorities to ensure safety of women sitting on protest against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh and other places in the national capital.
The Delhi High Court also said it would hear on Wednesday a similar plea. 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.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah today held a meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in the national capital. Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik, Congress leader Subhash Chopra, BJP's Manoj Tiwari and Ramvir Bidhuri attended the meeting.
On Monday, neighbourhoods of Northeast Delhi saw heavy stone-pelting between protesters opposing and supporting controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), several shops, vehicles, and a petrol pump in Bhajanpura were set on fire.
After the situation went out of control in Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Chand Bagh, Kardampuri, Bhajanpura, Gokulpuri and Noor-e-Ilahi, the police resorted to baton charge, firing tear gas shells and impose Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting gathering of people. At least 10 shops in Maujpur and two in Karawal Nagar and a petrol pump were burnt by the rioters who were chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram' and raising objectionable slogans.
This came close on the heels of clashes in the same district on Sunday. More than 1,000 protesters have been sitting on the main road at Jaffrabad metro station in a peaceful protest against the contentious citizenship legislation since February 22 night.
Head Constable Ratan Lal attached to the office of assistant commissioner of police (ACP) died in the violent clashes in Gokulpuri. He died of head injuries after he was hit by a stone.
The rioters also barged into the house of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) corporator Md Tahir Hussain and damaged property. He, along with his family, was inside his house when the incident took place.
Majority of shops, mainly belonging to Muslims, were vandalised in Maujpur, which was the epicentre of the riots. A large number of rioters (around 1,000) gathered in Maujpur and police sources said they would probe into it as to how they gathered in a matter of time.
There are allegations that the rioters had been given a free run and even the cops were throwing stones with the rioters.
Disturbing videos have emerged wherein the rioters can be seen vandalising properties, torching shops, throwing stones, hurling petrol bombs and opening fire.
Subsequently, violence of varying degrees began in several localities. CAA supporters occupied several streets, with the cops visibly unable to control the rioting mob.
According to police sources, 48 police personnel and 98 civilians were injured in Monday's clashes between pro and anti CAA groups at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura. Three firemen also received injuries while dousing flames in the area.
Prohibitory orders, banning the assembly of more than four persons, were imposed on Monday and will continue to be in force till March 24.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was "very worried" about the prevailing situation in certain parts of Delhi and called an urgent meeting of all party MLAs of the violence-hit areas.
In a tweet, the chief minister also urged everyone to shun violence.
“Am very worried abt prevailing situation in certain parts of Del. All of us together shud make all efforts to restore peace in our city. I again urge everyone to shun violence (sic),” he tweeted.
“Am meeting all MLAs (of all parties) of affected areas along wid senior officials in a while,” Kejriwal added.
Kejriwal also said the Delhi Police (under the Union Home Ministry) was not able to take action without orders from above. He said he would discuss with Home Minister Amit Shah.
(Inputs from Tarique Anwar, PTI and Mukund Jha)