New Delhi: A head constable was among four people killed and at least 50 others, including several paramilitary and Delhi Police personnel, were injured as violence spiralled over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi, turning it into a battlefield Monday with frenzied protesters torching houses, shops, vehicles and a petrol pump, and hurling stones.
This is the second day of clashes in the city where US President Donald Trump arrived Monday evening on the main leg of his India visit.
Police fired tear gas shells and also resorted to lathicharge as clashes broke out between pro and anti CAA groups at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura. Security personnel conducted flag marches and prohibitory orders were clamped to bring the situation under control.
Ratan Lal (42), a head constable attached to the office of the ACP Gokalpuri, died after he sustained injuries during stone pelting at the same locality. Three other civilian succumbed to injuries in the clashes, a Delhi government official said. He added that 50 people with injuries had come to hospital for treatment.
At least 11 police personnel, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara, Amit Sharma and ACP (Gokalpuri) Anuj Kumar were injured while trying to quell the protests. Two CRPF police personnel were also injured, sources said.
Government sources said the violence in the national capital appears to have been ‘orchestrated’ by some for publicity as it comes at a time when Trump is visiting the country. They said Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik was stationed at the police control room and closely monitoring the situation.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla told reporters the situation in the national capital was fully under control and sufficient forces were deployed on the ground. Officials said at least eight companies (100 personnel each) of central armed police were present on the ground, besides the Delhi Police.
All private and government schools in Northeast Delhi district will remain closed Tuesday in the wake of the violence, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.
The violence-affected areas witnessed several rounds of stone-pelting from pro and anti-CAA protestors. The roads were strewn with bricks, stones and glass shards.
In Maujpur, pro and anti-CAA protesters indulged in stone pelting and at least three vehicles were torched. Even closed shops were vandalised. At least one house was set on fire and plumes of smoke bellowed from the balcony.
A protester fired multiple rounds in air as a policeman was seen trying to stop him. The man is yet to be identified.
Pro-CAA protestors were also seen gheraoing and assaulting a man at Maujpur. Blood was oozing from his head, while some of the attackers raised provocative slogans.
Police chased and hit at least four young men with batons near a footbridge on one side of the road, where dozens of personnel were deployed in anti-riot gear. At least half a dozen youths were also picked up in a truck by the police. Another identified man was chased down and assaulted as he ran to escape the mob on an intersection under the Gokulpuri flyover at around 6.30pm.
Police have imposed section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, in areas affected by violence in northeast Delhi.
Vehicular traffic remained restricted on road number 59, which leads to Bhajanpura on one side and Ghaziabad via Gokulpuri flyover on the other side, causing inconvenience to commuters and locals, including students. There were many who were caught in the crossfire.
“I don’t know how are we going to go back home now,” a woman hawker, standing along with a fellow hawker at C Block Yamuna Vihar bus stand, wondered as they waited for a DTC bus.
A 20-year-old man carrying a helmet said he had to leave his motorcycle in Gokulpuri as he tried to make his way to Mustafabad but was stuck at barricades put by the police.
“My sister works there and she is calling me repeatedly, asking me to come and take her home in this situation. I am unable to find a way to reach her,” the man, visibly worried, said.
A family from Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh which had come to Rohini for a member’s treatment was also left stranded. “Five of us, including two women, had come here in the morning. Rest four are still at the hospital in Rohini and I had come here for some work. Now I am waiting for the violence to end so that I can go pick them up and we all can return home,” a man, who identified himself as Abhishek Thakur, said as he sat on a pavement with his hatchback parked near Dayalpur police station.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to restore law and order in the national capital. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said he has instructed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to ensure the situation is brought under control.
“Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in. I sincerely urge Hon’ble LG n Hon’ble Union Home Minister to restore law and order n ensure that peace and harmony is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.