Updated: February 26, 2020 9:13:53 am
Three days into the violence and reports of arson and attacks coming in even late Tuesday night, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited riot-hit northeast Delhi. Doval first headed to the office of DCP (Northeast) in Seelampur, Ved Prakash Surya, accompanied by Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik. Sources said he sought details of the dead and injured and the number of those arrested and detained.
Surya, incidentally, was the officer standing next to BJP’s Kapil Mishra when he warned Sunday that he “wouldn’t listen to the police,” once US President Donald Trump had left India and released a video threatening anti-CAA protesters.
After the meeting, around 12.30 am, Doval visited the areas hit by violence and arson.
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According to police, around 20 were detained until Tuesday night, while 67 companies of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed.
With the violence continuing, sources said Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to cancel his visit to Kerala.
Read | Mob, courtesy Delhi Police
The Jafrabad sit-in protest led by women under the Metro station was, meanwhile, cleared out by security officials. While a smaller anti-CAA protest had been on for over a month, the numbers had swollen in size on Saturday when a group of women blocked the Jafrabad Road. It was in response to this sit-in that Mishra had called a rally in the area on Sunday and given police an ultimatum to remove the protesters.
Tuesday night also saw police issuing shoot-at-sight orders with an officer in the neighbourhood making public announcements to this effect.
According to locals in Jafrabad, announcements to clear the sit-in began post 7 pm through mosques and loudspeakers and by policemen at the spot. “The announcements said that police were going to impose a curfew of sorts post midnight and that situation could turn violent if people did not adhere to it. We were already scared since there has been continuous violence since Sunday and felt that it was better to cooperate”, said Sufi, a local resident.
Merely a kilometre from the protest, two days of rioting had led to several injuries and destruction of property. As protesters started moving away, police placed barricades lanes leading up to the main Jafrabad Road so they couldn’t return. The gathering had moved from inside Jafrabad to the main road following a call by Bhim Army’s Chandrasekhar Azad for a Bharat bandh on Sunday. Locals alleged that while barricades had been placed in parts of Jafrabad where Muslims stay, localities at Maujpur Chowk where Hindus live saw free movement.
“There is constant threat. We are not sleeping at night just to guard our homes. We want to ensure our safety and once the violence ceases, we will take our protest to another place, maybe,” said a resident.
The night also saw a steady trickle of SOS messages from Muslim-dominated areas across the city — from the violence-hit Chand Bagh to pockets as far as South Delhi. In several areas of Northeast Delhi, people kept their homes firmly locked while in Patparganj, messages were relayed to residents of gated colonies not to let outsiders in.
At Jamia, hundreds of students gathered in the evening for a protest but were soon dispersed.
And in Laxmi Nagar, BJP’s newly elected MLA Abhay Verma again raised temperatures, leading a group of men who chanted “police ke hathyaaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko.” When contacted, Verma said, “People had forcibly shut shops and I had gone to get them reopened. Some slogans were raised during the march but I told them not to raise them. One has to be careful in situations with a big crowd.” (with inputs from Abhinav Rajput)
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