NEW DELHI :
SMOKE billowed in the air and mobs roamed unchecked through the streets, burning shops, pelting stones and threatening locals, as fresh violence tore through north-east Delhi, killing six more people on Tuesday and taking the toll in the communal clashes over the amended citizenship law to 13. As tension smouldered in the national capital’s north-east and the sun set over another restive day, violence cut a swathe through several localities, including Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura, with stones and other missiles hurled and shops set ablaze. Rioters damaged two fire tenders in Gokulpuri and crowds raising incendiary slogans set on fire fruit carts, rickshaws and anything that came in their way in the epicentre of the trouble Maujpur and other places. With US President Donald Trump also in the city, Delhi Police ramped up security.
It fired teargas shells to disperse the rioters -- armed with stones, rods and even swords and many wearing helmets to protect themselves -- and was assisted by paramilitary personnel. Streets were littered with mangled remains of vehicles, bricks and burnt tyres, mute testimony to the violence and bloodshed that took on a communal taint on Monday and injured about 180 people, including 48 police personnel. According to GTB Hospital Medical Superintendent Sunil Kumar, six people were declared brought dead on Tuesday, taking the death toll in 13. At least 35 injured people were also taken to the hospital today. “Fifty per cent of those injured have sustained bullet injuries,” Kumar added.
As the violence continued unabated, police officials said the situation was under control and flag marches were conducted in Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas and other places. Union Home Minister Amit Shah convened a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik and others to address the situation.
The meeting resolved that workers of political parties should join hands to restore peace and peace committees should be reactivated in all localities. In scenes not seen in the national capital for decades, frenzied groups thrashed people on the road and vandalised vehicles. The media also came under attack. Akshay, a journalist with JK 24X7 News, received a bullet injury and was in a serious condition in hospital, and two reporters from NDTV were beaten and punched by rioters. Many other journalists were heckled and told to go back. Schools were shut and fearful residents stayed indoors as restless crowds roamed the streets, seemingly unmindful of prohibitory orders restricting the assembly of more than four people imposed on Monday.
The 13 killed include Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal. While Lal died of gunshot wounds, it is still not yet clear what killed the others or who they all were. One person seen brandishing a gun before police on Monday was identified as Shah Rukh and been arrested yet. Police said 11 FIRs have been filed. Kejriwal, who held a meeting with senior officials and MLAs of all parties to discuss the situation, asked people to refrain from violence and said all issues can be dealt with through dialogue. “Stop this madness,” he said after visiting the injured in GTB Hospital. Curfew was imposed in four mob violence-hit areas of Maujpur, Chand Bagh, Karawal Nagar and Jafarabad in north-east Delhi.