New Delhi, Feb 24, 2020-
A Delhi Police head constable was killed on Monday as pro-and anti-CAA groups battled each other even as Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
A head constable, Ratan Lal, lost his life while a youth was injured in the clashes. The youth was injured by a bullet fired by the unruly protesters, while several vehicles and a house in the vicinity were set ablaze.
Shahdara DCP Amit Sharma also suffered injuries in stone pelting and was rushed to a hospital.
Several areas including Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Gokulpuri remained tense on Monday noon. The police used tear gas in a bid to control the violence.
Condoling Ratan Lal’s death, Kejriwal wrote on Twitter: “The death of the Police Head Constable is very sad. He was one of us too. Please give up violence. Nobody benefits from this.”
Taking to Twitter, the LG wrote: “Instructed @DelhiPolice and @CPDelhi 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 maintenance of peace and harmony.”
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and several other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders also appealed to the people to maintain peace.
Expressing concern over the violence, Kejriwal had written: “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.”
The LG’s assurance came soon after Kejriwal’s earlier tweet to which Delhi CM said: “I just had a word with Hon’ble LG. He has assured that more police force is being sent to the spot. Violence will not be tolerated. I request everyone to maintain peace and harmony. Nothing can be solved through violence.”
Soon after the news about the death of the head constable spread the crowd became more unruly after which Section 144 was imposed in the area.
A police official on condition of anonymity told: “The condition was worst near a petrol pump at Bhajanpura. Many vehicles near the petrol pump were set ablaze by the crowd.”
According to sources, some shops and houses were also attacked in Gokulpuri and the surrounding areas, and vehicles were set afire.
Local residents claimed that some people involved in the violence were using country-made pistols.
Localities in northeast Delhi have been witnessing violent clashes between the anti-CAA and pro-CAA groups since Sunday afternoon. The pro-CAA groups assembled at Maujpur metro station while the anti-CAA protesters settled down about a km away, at Jaffrabad metro station.
However, by Monday noon, things turned ugly between the two groups leading to several vehicles being set ablaze while a house near Maujpur metro station was set on fire. Heavy stone pelting was reported from both sides.
Efforts to bring normalcy in the area have been in vain, despite the presence of senior Delhi police officers on the spot. Security forces also used tear gas to scatter the protesters, but the situation remained tense.
Meanwhile, sources say that paramilitary forces have been called in to assist the police.
Journalists covering the spot were also targeted by the protesters as they were stopped from recording videos of the clashes and some of the media personnel were even beaten up.
Javed, who was present at the site of the clashes, alleged that some “unknown elements” tried to target their peaceful anti-CAA demonstration.
He said that during the protest, “a large crowd of people used abusive words and hurled stones”.
However, many pro-CAA demonstrators blamed the anti-CAA protesters for the violence.
Narendra Singh, one of the participants, said: “These people have been sitting here for the last two days. The children could not come to school. People are unable to go to office. The metro stations are closed. Even after repeated persuasion, those staging sit-ins are not ready to pay attention to anyone’s problem.” (Agency)