Uneasy calm in Delhi riot-hit areas; toll touches 27

Uneasy calm in Delhi riot-hit areas; toll touches 27
Charred remains of vehicles allegedly set ablaze by rioters during communal violence over the amended citizenship law at Shiv Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi, Wednesday.
NEW DELHI, FEB 26 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 2/26/2020 12:03:44 PM IST

After two days of communal clashes that claimed 27 lives, a brittle quiet settled over parts of riot-hit northeast Delhi Wednesday but there was violence in some other places with shops set ablaze and the body of an Intelligence Bureau staffer found in a drain.

As police conducted flag marches and security personnel spread out across the northeastern edge of the national capital in a bid to quell the violence raging since Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first reaction appealed for peace and brotherhood.

Asserting that it was important for calm to be restored at the earliest, Modi said on Twitter, “Had an extensive review on the situation prevailing in various parts of Delhi. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy.”

Away from ‘leader-speak’, fear hung like a heavy cloud over the area, littered with the detritus of a riot -- mangled and charred vehicles, bricks, stones and jagged glass. Shops and schools were closed and many streets deserted with police making announcements that no one should come out of their homes. There was heavy deployment of force in Chand Bagh with security personnel not allowing anyone to come out.

The blackened walls of a ‘mazaar’ in the locality spoke volumes of the violence the day before.

In Ashok Nagar, a mosque was vandalised and set on fire by miscreants, a day before. The shops outside the mosque, belonging to Hindus and Muslims, were also set on fire.

What makes this more disturbing is that all these instances of violence have occurred within a radius of just 12 km from India’s most secured area--the Raisina Hill. It is an area that houses the Parliament House Complex, the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister’s Office and the defence and home ministries, among other high-profile offices.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister tasked National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with the mandate to restore normalcy in riot-hit North East Delhi as concerns grew over inept handling of the situation by Delhi Police, officials said on Wednesday. After he visited the affected areas and interacted with locals on Wednesday, Doval said the situation in the violence-hit northeast Delhi is under control and the police are doing their job.

SC rebukes police: Supreme Court rebuked Delhi Police on Wednesday for failing to act “professionally” to check the violence in north-east Delhi which has left 27 people dead and scores injured, but refused to entertain pleas related to the riots over the new citizenship law, CAA.

The apex court lashed out at the law enforcing agencies for allowing the “instigators of violence” to get away and said they should act as per law without waiting for somebody’s nod. “If somebody makes an inflammatory remark, police has to take action,” it said.

Though the top court did not look into the applications on the violence, it said there was a need for “conducive environment” to go into the matters related to Shaheen Bagh protests.

HC directs police to file FIR against BJP leaders, and others: Delhi High Court Wednesday directed Delhi Police to take a “conscious decision” on the registration of FIRs against three prominent political leaders for allegedly inciting violence in the national capital.

The court witnessed jam packed courtroom as a Division Bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh heard a petition praying for arresting BJP leader Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and Parvesh Verma for inciting violence in north-east Delhi.

“We are not confining to these clips but any clip on which an FIR needs to registered. Wrong signal is being sent out. We do not want another 1984,” said Justice Muralidhar.

The court observed, “This is the anguish of the constitutional court against the non-registration of FIR and we want you to tell this to commissioner of police. You should sit and make a conscious decision. Come back and tell us tomorrow.” The matter will be heard tomorrow at 2:15 p.m.

US, Russia issue advisory: In the wake of the violence in Delhi, the US and Russia on Wednesday issued advisories to their citizens, asking them to exercise caution and avoid violence-hit areas.

The US Embassy in India issued a security alert, advising American citizens that it is important to monitor local media outlets for updates on demonstrations, road and Metro closures, and possible curfews. “US citizens in India should exercise caution in light of violent demonstrations in Northeast Delhi and avoid all areas with demonstrations,” the embassy advisory said.

Russia asked its citizens to be careful, avoid large gatherings and violence-hit areas -- Jaffrabad, Maujpur and Bhajanpura.

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