New Delhi, Feb 24, 2020-
‘Ground Zero’ in Maujpur is a Delhi road that doesn’t look like one: The normal daily commuter rush during the day that lingers on late into night is missing.
The ground is strewn with rocks and stones — remnants of bitter street fights between pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) supporters. There are crowds of men, armed with wooden sticks dancing away in some sort of reverie, and loudspeakers blaring away songs in the background, adding to the all-pervading bravado and machismo.
The little pocket tucked away in north-east Delhi has been on the boil since Saturday night, with pro and anti-CAA groups confronting each other. in the midway, it is the police and security forces who keep a watch, ensuring people don’t stray into the ‘other zone’.
Maujpur and surrounding localities have been witnessing sporadic violence as two groups resume their overnight confrontationist stance.
During the day, groups of people, aggressively enquire from passers-by about their identity, allowing them to pass, only if they belong to a particular ‘group’. It’s a similar story on the other side of the road.
Only the people and the slogans they raise are different.
The upsurge in violence has come at a crucial time, though the more than two-month long Shaheen Bagh road blockade appears to be moving towards resolution. The arrival of US President Trump seems to have raised the stakes in this war of nerves over CAA.
The casualties have begun to rise: the first was on Monday, when a policeman succumbed to his injuries sustained in stone-pelting, which also left a senior police officer injured.
The government has stepped in to control the situation and rushed in eight companies of paramilitary forces to the violence-affected areas.
Questions are being raised over whether the violence is a coincidence when US President Trump is on India visit. Union Minister of state for Home G. Kishan Reddy has said it is all a plan to tarnish India’s reputation on the global stage.
The scale of violence is unprecedented, as this time, two groups are involved in an area where people live cheek by jowl. And the prognosis is not good at all. (Agency)
Ground Zero: A dangerous mix of politics and police inaction?