“We have managed to recce 700 houses and have recovered 500 bricks, 70 sacks of broken bricks and stones, three sacks of glass bottles, and at least 70 weapons including spades and knives.”
According to this senior officer, all it took for Delhi Police to reel in this lethal haul in just one day from Trilokpuri, after the communal riots last week, was one machine: A drone, also called a helicam, that was deployed to scan the rooftops in the area.
The drone was used Tuesday after police asked the area’s residents, before the ongoing curfew was relaxed for a few hours, to throw bricks and weapons out of their houses. The request was made in the form of an announcement issued from police jeeps that also assured residents that those who agreed to do so would not be prosecuted.
According to police, the helicam was used only in areas where people failed to act on the announcement. “When we used the helicam in the first three blocks — 27, 28 and 15 — we were shocked to see the pile of bricks lying on the rooftops of houses. Most of our recoveries were from these blocks alone. Some had weapons stored on the terraces. We noticed this using the device. We were able to recover some of the weapons,” the officer said.
“We sourced the device through a private company which helped us immensely,” he said, adding that the drone has been deployed earlier at the Ramlila Maidan and at protest sites.
Following the recovery at Trilokpuri, police called in the East Municipal Corporation to collect the bricks and dump them elsewhere.
A corporation official said, “We have deputed three vehicles to collect these bricks. The vehicles will operate whenever the curfew is relaxed. We will cover the whole area block by block.”
Explaining how the residents had stored the bricks, a police officer said, “Some of the residents put up brick walls on the pretext of building a roof or an extra floor. During such incidents, they use these bricks and stones to target others.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Ajay Kumar said, “The residents from whose houses we have recovered weapons will be prosecuted”.
Rahul Gandhi may visit riot scene today
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to visit riot-affected families in Trilokpuri on Wednesday, sources said on Tuesday.
A delegation of a peace committee from Trilokpuri met Gandhi Tuesday evening. The committee included senior leaders of the Congress, including general secretary in-charge of Delhi, Shakeel Ahmed, and Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely. Also in the delegation was P L Punia, chairman of the National Commission for SC/ST.
According to Congress leaders, the peace committee comprised at least 400 Muslim and Dalit residents from Trilokpuri. “We made a pledge that we want peace and also asked Rahul Gandhi to mount political pressure on the Delhi Police to take proper action,” Harnam Singh, a Congress leader who had contested elections from Trilokpuri and is a part of the party’s SC/ST cell, said.
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