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As Delhi death toll mounts, PM Modi appeals for peace

Poornima Joshi/AM Jigeesh Jaffrabad/Maujpur (New Delhi) | Updated on February 26, 2020 Published on February 26, 2020

Paramilitary forces join Delhi police to conduct a flag march in Mustafabad in North-East Delhi on Wednesday   -  Sandeep Saxena

NSA reviews situation; local residents, too, pitch in to restore peace in riot-affected areas

After three days of uninterrupted violence that has claimed 22 lives so far, local efforts to restore peace coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public appeal for harmony and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval visiting the riot-hit localities.

The PM said that he had done an “extensive review of the situation prevailing in various parts of Delhi. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy.”

On Tuesday night, the NSA and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik visited the office of the North-East Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ved Prakash Surya, and went around Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Gokulpuri and Bhajanpura, which witnessed the worst of the riots, arson and inter-community clashes. The NSA was again at the spot, urging people to stay calm.

Late on Tuesday night, residents of Jaffrabad organised a meeting with a volatile crowd protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act next to the metro station. Maulanas of various mosques had addressed the crowd along with Joint Commissioner of Police Narinder Singh Bhalla and other residents brought together by a local businessman Babboo Mallik.

“We appeal to you to clear this road and let the traffic pass. We will not let any harm come to you,” Bhalla told the angry crowd, which was demanding the arrest of BJP leader Kapil Mishra, charging him with provoking the protesters. The Maulanas joined in the appeal and the protesters were finally coaxed into dispersing.

In Muslim-majority Jaffrabad, residents guarded local temples to stop miscreants from desecrating them and furthering communal divide. “We asked all the respected elders in the area to guard the temple in Gali Number 33. There are five temples in this area. We are keeping a watch on all of them,” said Babboo Mallik.

But in the neighbouring Yamuna Vihar area, fear and suspicion prevailed and some residents asserted they had resolved to take revenge for the attacks on their community.

High Court rap

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court came down heavily against political leaders, including Kapil Mishra, MoS Finance Anurag Thakur, BJP MP Parvesh Varma and others for their incendiary speeches and asked the police to register FIRs against them.

A Division Bench, headed by Justice S Muralidhar, commented sharply on the inflammatory videos and warned that it would “not allow another 1984 scenario to happen under its watch.”

Apex court rebuke

The alleged failure of the Delhi police to check the communal riots also came under the scanner of the Supreme Court, which rebuked it for failing to act “professionally”. The apex court lashed out at law enforcing agencies for allowing the “instigators of violence” to get away and said they should act according to the law without waiting for somebody’s nod.

Published on February 26, 2020
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