A Delhi Police cop and three civilians have died, a DCP-rank officer injured, a petrol pump torched, a number of houses, cars and shops burnt after clashes between pro and anti-CAA protesters in Maujpur and Jafarabad areas of North East Delhi.
Protests related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) took a violent turn on Monday in Maujpur and Jaffrabad (also spelt as Jaffrabad) areas of Northeast Delhi as pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed with each other for the second consecutive day. A Delhi Police head constable, Ratan Lal, was killed in the stone-pelting after suffering a head injury, while several police personnel, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdra, Amit Sharma, were injured during the clashes. Three civilians are also reported to have died due to bullet injuries. The number of protesters injured in the clashes remains unknown.
Tension escalated in the area with protesters torching many houses and vehicles in Jaffrabad and Maujpur areas. Violence was also reported from the Chand Bagh and adjoining areas.
1) How did it start?
On Monday, clashes broke out between two groups: one was protesting in favour of the CAA, while the other was protesting against it. The clashes started around 10 am in Maujpur area of Delhi’s Northeast district where the two groups began pelting each other with stones.
Soon, the violence escalated and people came out on the road linking Maujpur with Jaffarabad. An elevated stretch of the Delhi Metro runs along this road.
This happened a day after similar clashes took place between the two warring groups in nearby Jaffarabad, prompting the Delhi Metro to close entry and exit gates at Maujpur-Babarpur metro station. The area was gripped by tension when a large group of people who have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act blocked a road.
Police fired tear gas shells as members of the two groups pelted each other with stones in Maujpur. For security reasons, the entry and exit gates of the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station were closed.
Taking a precautionary measure today morning, the Delhi Metro in a tweet said entry and exit gates at Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations will remain closed and trains won’t halt at these stations.
Entry & exit of Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur are closed. Trains will not be halting at these stations.
— Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (@OfficialDMRC) February 24, 2020
2) What areas have been affected?
Today’s protest and violence is confined to Shahdra area of Delhi’s Northeast district. While the protest is reported to have begun in Maujpur around 10am, by 5pm violence and arson was also reported from adjoining areas of Jaffarabad, Bhajanpura and Karawal Nagar.
3) What’s the extent of arson?
As per latest information from our reporters on ground zero, a petrol pump was set on fire in Bhajanpura, many shops and houses have been torched in Maujpur and Jaffarabad, and a number of police vehicles gutted in the area. The overall extent of damage to public property remains unknown.
4) Violence, firing and stonepelting
The stonepelting that started in Maujpur around 10am continued throughout the day intermittently. Many police personnel, including a DCP-rank officer, were injured in it, while a head constable died after a stone hit him on his head.
These clashes were reported not just from Maujpur, but also adjoining localities of Karawal Nagar, Jaffarabad, Bhajanpura, Kabir Nagar, Karampura, Dayalpur and Chand Bagh.
Around 1pm, a man wearing a red T-shirt was seen brandishing a country-made pistol during the clashes that were taking place on the road connecting Maujpur with Jaffarabad. A policeman tried to stop him from firing but he pushed him aside and fired eight rounds. Fortunately no one was injured. However, he managed to escape into the crow, giving the cops a miss.
5) Sec 144 and heavy deployment on ground zero
The local administration has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC that forbids movement and assembly of more than five people. A heavy deployment of Delhi Police personnel and the central paramilitary forces has also been made in the area to restore law and order.
The district administration has been appealing to the two sides to shun violence and maintain peace. The Delhi Police too has appealed for peace and urged people not to believe in rumours
6) What Delhi Police has said so far
In a statement on the violence in and around Maujpur and Jaffarabad, the Delhi Police said some incidents of violence and arson were reported in areas of North East district, particularly in Maujpur, Kardampuri, Chand Bagh and Dayalpu.
“It is appealed to the people of Delhi, and particularly to the Northeast district, to maintain peace and harmony and not to believe in any rumours. It is also appealed to the media not to circulate any disturbing pictures which may further aggravate the situation,” the statement read.
It said the Delhi Police is “making every effort to restore normalcy”. “Section 144 has been imposed in the affected areas of North East district and strict action will be taken against miscreants and anti-social elements.”
Some incidents of violence and arson have been reported in the areas of North East District, particularly in the areas of Maujpur, Kardampuri, Chand Bagh and Dayalpur. It is appealed to the people of Delhi and particularly to the North East District to maintain peace and harmony.
— Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) February 24, 2020
Delhi Police is making every effort to restore normalcy. Sec. 144 has been imposed in the affected areas of North East district and strict action will be taken against miscreants and anti social elements.
— Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) February 24, 2020
7) Measures for restoring law and order
Besides the appeals for peace and heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces, the Delhi Police has also carried out a flag march on the Maujpur-Jaffrabad road.
8) LG Baijal, CM Kejriwal appeal for peace
Taking to Twitter, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people to shun violence and maintain peace in the area. Arvind Kejriwal also urged Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to restore law and order in the national capital.
“Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in. I sincerely urge Hon’ble LG n Hon’ble Union Home Minister to restore law and order n ensure that peace and harmony is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations (sic),” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in.
I sincerely urge Hon’ble LG n Hon'ble Union Home Minister to restore law and order n ensure that peace and harmony is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 24, 2020
Meanwhile, Delhi LG Anil Baijal instructed the Delhi Police and Commissioner of Police to ensure that law and order is maintained in North East Delhi. “The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for the maintenance of peace and harmony,” he said.
9) The Donald Trump angle
The clashes, violence and arson in India’s national capital coincided with the arrival of US President Donald Trump on a two-day visit to India. Trump landed in Ahmedabad and addressed a gathering of over one lakh people with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Motera Cricket Stadium. From Ahmedabad, President Trump left for Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. He is set to arrive in Delhi later tonight.
On Tuesday, President Trump and PM Modi will be holding talks at the Hyderabad House in the national capital, about 20 km from today’s protest scenes.
10) 4 cases for Sunday’s violence
Earlier in the day, news agency PTI reported that the Delhi Police has registered four cases in connection with the violence during protests between pro and anti-CAA groups in northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad and nearby areas.
One FIR has been registered at Welcome police station while another has been lodged at Jafrabad police station. Two other FIRs have been registered at Dayalpur police station, they said.
Inputs with India Today