Delhi CAA violence toll rises to 13

Poornima Joshi Jaffrabad (New Delhi) | Updated on February 26, 2020

A Rapid Action Force contingent patrols a riot affected area. Fresh clashes erupted between pro- and anti-CAA protesters in Delhi on Tuesday   -  DANISH SIDDIQUI

Home Ministry summons more troops to restore normalcy

Fear and distrust across North-East Delhi sparked more violence on Tuesday, claiming 13 lives and leaving at least 150 injured over the last three days when the thus-far peaceful anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests took a communal and aggressive turn.

In localities such as Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Bhajanpura, Khureji Khas and Gokulpuri mobs from different communities clashed through the day and the police presence was thin.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressed a meeting of senior officials of the Delhi Police, the Home Ministry and the State administration. Shah reportedly urged political outfits to rise above party lines to stop the violence.

“This is not about politics. We will work together with the Centre to restore normalcy,” said Kejriwal after holding another meeting with his Cabinet colleagues, MLAs and peace activists.

At the heart of the violence was the image of a man aiming a firearm at a policeman and a provocative speech on Sunday by BJP leader Kapil Mishra in which he threatened the anti-CAA protesters to “clear out or be ready to be cleared out”.

The situation has since turned volatile in areas such as Jaffrabad, where anti-CAA protesters came face-to-face with residents of neighbouring Maujpur. The protesters said there should be an immediate identification of the man who shot at the policeman.

“The protesters are women here, local people; they have not harmed anyone. We want this man who shot the policeman identified and punished,” said Babboo Malik, a businessman of Jaffrabad.

A group of six local lawyers and activists said they have lodged an FIR against Kapil Mishra, alleging that he provoked the already edgy protesters.

“People have been protesting peacefully for two months. Then Kapil Mishra came and threatened them. The police should take immediate action. He should be arrested,” said Nadeem Uzzman, who lodged the FIR against Mishra.

East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, too, said that “anyone who has provoked violence, whether it is Kapil Mishra or anybody else, should be punished. No one should be allowed to disturb peace”.

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Published on February 25, 2020
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