27 Feb., Kathmandu : Sporadic violence hit parts of Delhi overnight as gangs roamed streets littered with the debris of days of sectarian riots that have killed 32 people, police said Thursday. Thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrolled the affected northeast fringes of the Indian capital of 20 million people, preventing any major eruptions.
The unrest is the latest bout of violence over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law, which triggered months of demonstrations that turned deadly in December. Sunil Kumar, director of the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, said Thursday the hospital registered 30 deaths while the chief doctor at Lok Nayak Hospital said that two people had died there. “All of them (at the GTB) had gunshot injuries,” Kumar told AFP.
The new fatalities up from 27 on Wednesday were all from the violence on Monday and Tuesday when mobs of Hindus and Muslims fought running battles. Homes, shops, two mosques, two schools, a tyre market and a fuel station were torched. More than 200 people were also injured. “No major incident of violence was reported from anywhere in the affected areas” overnight Wednesday to Thursday, Mandeep Randhawa, Delhi police spokesperson, told AFP. “Some distress calls were made and the force provided immediate assistance,” he said.
The initial violence erupted late Sunday after Hindu groups objected to Muslims holding a street demonstration over the citizenship law. Mobs armed with swords and guns set fire to thousands of properties and vehicles. Locals complained that police did nothing to stop the violence. In December at least 30 people were killed, mostly in police action in northern Uttar Pradesh state, a part of the country with a significant Muslim population.
Many Muslims believe the citizenship law in combination of a mooted citizens’ register will leave them stateless, and is part of a plan by Modi’s right-wing ruling party to turn officially secular India into a Hindu nation. His party has denied the allegations but in recent weeks members have called protesters “anti-nationals” and “jihadists”, with some calling for them to be jailed or even shot dead.
Delhi govt decides to provide relief to victims
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday held a high-level meeting over the violence in the national capital, wherein a decision was taken to provide relief material to the victims of the mayhem. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Minister Kailash Gahlot and senior officials attended the meeting.
Earlier, the Chief Minister had announced the compensation of Rs 1 crore and a job to a family member of Police Head Constable Rattan Lal, who had lost his life during the violence in North-East Delhi. On Wednesday, the Chief Minister and his deputy had visited the violence-affected areas in the North-East district of the national capital.
The two leaders interacted with locals at Johripur following a Delhi High Court order that “the Chief Minister and Deputy CM should also visit the affected areas for confidence-building among people.” At least 33 people, including a police head constable, have died while around 200 people have sustained serious injuries in the violence that raged for three days in the North-East Delhi. ANI/AFP