13 Killed As Delhi Burns Over CAA

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People supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law, in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters).

New Delhi – As street violence continued for the third day running on Tuesday in Delhi, harrowing pictures have emerged from the riot-hit areas of the capital.

While mobs went on rampage in Northeast Delhi, burning houses and vehicles and even targeting places of worship, the death toll in the communal violence rose to 13.

Journalists too were brutally attacked for covering the riots. NDTV’s Arvind Gunasekar and Saurabh Shukla, who had to be admitted to hospital for their injuries, were beaten up reportedly because they tried to take videos of a mob burning down a mosque. A journalist from JK24, identified as Akash, received a bullet injury.

The worst hit areas include Bhajanpura, Chandbagh, Yamuna Vihar, Maujpur and Ashok Vihar. Videos from the area showed smoke billowing out as the arson continued.

The Wire reported that a  a mosque was set on fire in Ashok Vihar on Tuesday and a Hanuman flag was put on top of it.

The report said that while shops around the mosque were looted, a mob paraded around the mosque shouting “Jai Shri Ram”.

Riots broke out in Delhi on Monday as mobs went on a rampage through many areas of north east Delhi. Police had to resort to firing tear gas shells and lathicharge, said reports.

Photos and videos from the area, that continued come in over night showed shops burning, there were religious places that were set on fire by what seemed like Hindu mobs.

An official of the Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital confirmed on Tuesday that 13 people have died at the hospital sofar while many more were bttling for their lives.

“Some of the people brought in had gunshot wounds,” said Dr Rajesh Kalra, additional medical superintendent at the hospital, according to the news agency Reuters.

‘GO AHEAD AND THROW STONES’

According to Reuters, its reporters saw multiple vehicles set on fire, metal barricades torn down and thick smoke billowing as supporters of the new law clashed with opponents. A small contingent of police was vastly outnumbered.

The rioters could be seen using stones, lathis (sticks), and petrol bombs, to torch houses, shops, vehicles, and even a petrol pump.

But for several hours, Reuters witnesses saw the outnumbered policemen mostly stand beside Hindu groups, and do little to quell the violence. The police also stood by as a mob vandalised a store with a Muslim name, pulling out vehicles and setting them alight.

“Go ahead and throw stones,” one policeman shouted to protesters backing the law, during one of the running battles.

CM APPEALS FOR PEACE

As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for peace, the Delhi police have told the Ministry of Home Affairs that they don’t have enough forces to take control of the situation, according to PTI.

This comes even as the Home Ministry has said there was no need to bring in the army.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not made any statement so far.

SIT-IN SITE CLEARED

Amid unabated violence in Northeast Delhi, the Jaffrabad road, where an anti-CAA protest sit-in was on, was cleared by the Delhi Police on Tuesday.

Police also issued shoot at site orders in the volatile areas, Indian Express reported.

Politician Yogendra Yadav described the violence as “communal” and urged police to intervene.

Delhi government also announced closure of schools in the violence-affected areas and also requested CBSE to postpone Wednesday’s board exam.

A large number of people have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), largely viewed as biased against India’s Muslim community, ever since it was passed by parliament in December. Delhi has seen some of the most intense of these demonstrations. A section of people who support the new Act, too, have been organising rallies, and demanding the quelling of the protests.

The fresh violence broke out a day after a BJP leader Kapil Mishra, threatened violence if anti-CAA protesters were not forcibly removed from the protest sites in North East Delhi. On Feb. 23, Mishra had led a pro-CAA crowd against a group of women protesting against CAA. The BJP leader gave an ultimatum to the police to quell the protests in three days. “We won’t listen to you if roads are not vacated by then,” he had said, according to media reports.

Within hours, northeast Delhi was burning, leaving several civilians, senior police officers, and paramilitary personnel, injured. Those who died are Delhi police head constable, Ratan Lal, and nine civilians.

The violence came amidst US president Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India. However, the high profile  visit was overshadowed by horrific street violence that broke out in the Indian capital, only a few kilometres from where Trump was staying.

Monday’s clashes were among the worst seen in New Delhi since the protests against the CAA began in early December.

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