Violence in the northeast district of Delhi appears to have been orchestrated keeping in view the ongoing visit of US President Donald Trump, MoS Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said on Monday.
He has also promised strict action against those responsible for the violence.
“Violence in North-East Delhi orchestrated with an eye on US President’s visit to India. I condemn it. Govt of India will never tolerate violence. We will take strict action against those responsible. MHA is monitoring the situation,” Reddy told ANI.
Reddy further said that violence took place “to degrade India’s image in the world”. “I want to ask the Congress and a few other political parties, who will take responsibility for this?” he questioned.
“It’s your right to go for peaceful protest but this is not the way. What kind of protest is this?”
The MoS also warned that violence and arson would not be tolerated, and said that he has ordered the Delhi police to act against the culprits.
A police constable has reportedly lost his life after a massive clash broke out between protesters agitating against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and those supporting the law in Northeast Delhi’s Maujpur area on Monday.
The spot is near Jaffrabad, where a protest has been on since Saturday night against the citizenship law.
The Ministry of Home affairs sources, as quoted by news agency PTI, said the ministry and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik are in touch and it is expected to get a grip on the situation soon.
Patnaik is monitoring the situation from the Control Room.
Sources, according to a report in News18, also said that it was a matter of investigation how 1,000 people gathered so soon. The sources further said that Central forces were aiding the Delhi police to control the situation. Senior officers have also been deployed on the ground, they said. “Things were tense around 3:30 pm, but are now under control,” they said.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that senior officers have been deployed on the ground with sufficient forces and added that the situation is under control.
As per reports, head constable Ratan Lal, who was attached to the office of the assistant commissioner of police lost his life and a DCP has been injured during clashes between the two groups in Delhi’s Gokulpuri.
At least, 37 police personnel have also been injured during the clashes.
The clash turned violent as protesters resorted to throwing stones at each other and set vehicles, shops and houses ablaze. A petrol pump was also set ablaze in North-East Delhi’s Bhajanpura area.
Section 144 has been imposed at ten locations in Northeast Delhi in view of the violence.
The violence comes hours ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the National Capital.
Delhi Police has said that strict action will be taken against miscreants and anti-social elements that are responsible for the violence and arson, which have been reported in North-east district of Delhi on Monday.
“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,” said Delhi Police.
Meanwhile, according to a report in IANS, journalists covering the clashes were targeted by the protesters as they were stopped from recording videos of the clashes and some of the media personnel were even beaten up.
Following the violence, several leaders including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for peace and restraint.
Kejriwal condoled the death of the police constable and appealed to the people to give up violence.
पुलिस हेड कोंस्टेबल की मौत बेहद दुःखदायी है। वो भी हम सब में से एक थे।
कृपया हिंसा त्याग दीजिए। इस से किसी का फ़ायदा नहीं। शांति से ही सभी समस्याओं का हल निकलेगा
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 24, 2020
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia also called for peace while condemning the violence in Northeast Delhi.
सभी दिल्लीवासियों से अपील है कि शांति बनाए रखें. हिंसा में सबका नुक़सान है. हिंसा की आग सबको ऐसा नुक़सान पहुँचाती है जिसकी भरपाई कभी नहीं हो पाती.
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) February 24, 2020
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took to his official Twitter handle to condemn the violence. He said “peaceful protests are sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified”.
The violence today in Delhi is disturbing & must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion & understanding no matter what the provocation.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 24, 2020
BJP leader Vijay Goel tweeted he was “Saddened by the violence in North East Delhi’s Karawal Nagar, Yamuna Nagar, and Jafarabad”. He further appealed to the people to maintain calm and stay away from rumours.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also appealed for peace, holding the Union government responsible for not making any attempts to “address grievances of a large section of Indians”.
There is utmost need to maintain peace and calm. We appeal to everyone to not fall prey to rumours or incitements – Peace must be kept. The responsibility however, lies with the Union govt which has not made any attempt to address grievances of a large section of Indians. #Delhi
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 24, 2020
Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija, who operates the leader’s Twitter account criticised Trump’s visit to India as Delhi “burns”.
“Hi Tea” & Namastey Trump while Delhi burns & 8 million Kashmiris remain deprived of fundamental rights. Gandhi ji’s legacy remembered only at perfunctory visits to Sabarmati ashram by foreign dignitaries. His values long forgotten
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 24, 2020
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has held responsible an ex-MLA and BJP leader for inciting people and the subsequent violence and called for the leader’s arrest.
“These riots were a result of incitement by an ex MLA & BJP leader. Now there is clear evidence of police involvement. The ex-MLA should be arrested immediately, urgent steps should be taken to control the violence. Otherwise, it’ll spread (sic),” Owaisi tweeted.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Kapil Mishra has called for peace. Mishra, who had during the Delhi election campaign called for shooting the traitors, tweeted, “I appeal to all that violence is not a solution. Violence is not a solution to any dispute. It is beneficial for all that brotherhood is maintained in Delhi. Be it a CAA supporter or an anti-CAA or anyone, the violence should stop immediately.”
The trouble started on Sunday afternoon when local BJP leader Kapil Mishra decided to hold a rally in favour of the law. At the rally, the BJP leader gave an “ultimatum” to the Delhi police to clear the roads at Chand Bagh and Jaffrabad or else, he said, they would have to hit the streets.
A total of eight companies of the CRPF have been deployed in Northeast Delhi due to violence in the area. Two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and one company of women security personnel have been deployed as well.