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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Delhi: Rumours spark panic after day of rallies, police warn of action

Minutes before 8 pm, Tilak Nagar Metro station was shut for entry and exit. Around 8.20 pm, DMRC also shut the Nangloi, Surajmal Stadium, Badarpur, Tughlakabad, Uttam Nagar West and Nawada stations. They were all reopened at 8.40 pm.

Written by Ananya Tiwari , Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
March 2, 2020 5:40:05 am
Police maintained no violent incidents had taken place and that they was patrolling various areas. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

Delhi remained on edge Sunday as rallies during the day and rumours in the evening led to several panicked calls to the police over fears of violence in parts of the city. Police maintained no violent incidents had taken place and that they was patrolling various areas. Panicked calls were made in the evening from Rajouri Garden, Uttam Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Dwarka, Kalkaji, Madanpur Khadar and Badarpur.

During the day, a march was held at Malviya Nagar where close to 300 people gathered, carrying the Tricolour and raising slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai, Vande Mataram and Jai Shri Ram. BJP councillor from the area Nandini Sharma, who lives in Geetanjali Enclave, participated in the protest. According to DCP South Atul Kumar Thakur, the procession was organised by members of the management committee of the local temples and a gurdwara. “The procession took place peacefully from Laxmi Narayan Mandir at about 2.45 pm and culminated at the same place at about 3.45 pm,” he said, though he added that no permission for the march had been granted.

Asked about the march in light of tension in the city, he said: “It was peaceful…we are inquiring into which group led the march and why.”

Asked about the march, Sharma said: “It was an Ekta March organised by the RWAs and market associations. It was a pro-country march for the unity of all religions. I spoke to the ACP before the march and he did not allow it saying rogue elements could get involved. But it went peacefully. Once once a crowd gathers you cannot remove it.”

Asked whether the rally was against anti-CAA protesters in nearby Hauz Rani, Sharma said, “We have great relations with people from Hauz Rani. Outside elements are involved in the Hauz Rani protest, and they are misleading them.”

Area MLA, Somnath Bharti, meanwhile, said the DCP had earlier advised him to postpone a peace march. “On February 28, Friday, I wanted to organise a peace march, with people from all religions… I spoke to the DCP (South) and he advised me against it, saying that there was a danger of rogue elements entering the march. I cancelled it as I didn’t want anything untoward to happen,” he said.

Another march was carried out in Patel Nagar around 4 pm, with hundreds holding placards seeking justice for IB staffer Ankit Sharma and Head Constable Ratan Lal. A smaller march was seen in Rohini in the afternoon.

Tense evening

Minutes before 8 pm, Tilak Nagar Metro station was shut for entry and exit. Around 8.20 pm, DMRC also shut the Nangloi, Surajmal Stadium, Badarpur, Tughlakabad, Uttam Nagar West and Nawada stations. They were all reopened at 8.40 pm.

Joint CP (Western Range), Shalini Singh posted a video from Khayala, where she was seen with area residents. “There was a rumour that riots had broken out in the area. This is false. Delhi police is present here for everyone’s safety. We request you to not believe rumours. We are present at the spot and will take care of everybody.” she said.

Tikal Nagar MLA Jarnail Singh also tweeted photos from the area and said that things were calm. Kalkaji MLA Atishi too took to Twitter to assure residents that there had been no incidents in her constituency, which includes Govindpuri.

As rumours of violence refused to die down, police warned of action against those spreading them. The official handle of DCP South tweeted: “Do not believe in any rumours regarding incidents in Sangam Vihar, Ambedkar Nagar, Hauz Rani or other areas. All officers are alert and patrolling and strict action will be taken against those spreading rumours.”

Shaheen Bagh and adjoining areas, meanwhile, saw heavy security deployment and imposition of CrPC section 144 Sunday, with some groups called for a march to the spot where women have been protesting against the amended citizenship law for over two months. While the march was cancelled after Delhi Police’s intervention, there was heavy security deployment.

“There was a call to a march till Shaheen Bagh by a group. It’s been imposed to avoid that from happening,” said DCP (Southeast) R P Meena. He said 12 companies of outside force, along with 800 police personnel from other districts were deployed in the area.

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