Cop, 4 others die North-East Delhi clashes

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in the violence-affected areas. Curfew could be imposed any time if the situation deteriorated.Security personnel conducted flag marches in the evening and additional forces, including the CRPF, have been deployed.

NEW DELHI: A wide swathe of north-east Delhi — from Jafrabad to Chand Bagh and Karawal Nagar — was wracked by communal riots and incidents of rampant vandalism on Monday as anti- and pro-CAA groups clashed for over seven hours.It left fires burning in the streets — which were littered with stones, bricks and glass — with smoke scarring the landscape. Stone-pelting, firing and arson left one policeman and four others dead while over 60 were injured. These include two dozen cops, including a DCP, passersby and rioters.When night fell, incidents were still being reported with the situation very volatile. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in the violence-affected areas. Curfew could be imposed any time if the situation deteriorated.Security personnel conducted flag marches in the evening and additional forces, including the CRPF, have been deployed.The deceased cop was identified as head constable Ratan Lal. DCP (Shahdara) Amit Sharma, currently in the ICU, is reported to be critical with severe head injuries and clots and bruises all over his body. He was dragged out of his official vehicle at Chand Bagh and it was set on fire.It is unclear whether the five died of gunshot injuries or blunt force trauma. An official confirmation on the cause of death will be made only after postmortem is conducted on Tuesday. The head constable was killed in Gokulpuri while the others were brought to GTB Hospital from undisclosed places and declared dead on arrival. ACP (Gokulpuri) Anuj Kumar, two CRPF personnel and three firemen were also injured. Many journalists were manhandled. Delhi Police is learnt to have filed multiple FIRs in connection with the violence. It has also filed four FIRs regarding Sunday’s violence in the same area.The area had witnessed protests and sporadic clashes on Sunday and it’s a mystery how police failed to anticipate and contain the situation.Violence was reported from Jafrabad, Chand Bagh, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Kardampuri, Gokulpuri, Khajuri and Karawal Nagar as frenzied mobs went on the rampage torching vehicles, shops and a petrol pump and attacking anyone who came in their way or whom they suspected to be of the other religion.Full-fledged stone-pelting started between the anti- and pro-CAA groups around 10.30am in several areas in and around Jafrabad. The violence soon escalated, taking a communal turn. The mobs kept on growing in strength, and in no time, the two sides were throwing stones at each other from either side of the Yamuna canal, which runs parallel to the Metro tracks.In Maujpur, the protesters not only threw stones but also torched three vehicles and shops that had their shutters down. At least one house was set on fire and plumes of smoke were seen rising from the balcony. The protestors were also seen assaulting a man after striking him down. They were shouting slogans and did not let him go even though he was bleeding.The violence spiralled further around 1pm when rioters set fire to a petrol pump in Bhajanpura. Two school buses were also torched on the Bhajanpura-Yamuna Vihar border. All major roads were littered with bricks, stones and glass shards. At Bhajanpura Chowk, a fire tender was damaged by the protesters after it responded to an emergency call from the area.The role of the police has come under scrutiny as they have been accused of not acting promptly in the morning and being mute spectators to the violence at many places through the day. The cops were seen trying to chase away the rioters by throwing back their stones and firing tear gas shells but soon came face-to-face at several spots in the afternoon. There, they wielded lathis but it was of little use. At one point, an armed man — later identified as one Mohammed Shahrukh — was caught on camera confronting a lone cop. He opened multiple rounds of fire with a crowd of around a hundred people egging him on from a distance. He even pointed the gun at the cop’s face point-blank. Later in the evening, he was detained by the cops.Vehicular traffic remained restricted on road number 59, which leads to Bhajanpura on one side and Ghaziabad via the Gokulpuri flyover on the other, causing inconvenience to commuters and locals, including students. Many students were seen trying to nervously make their way back to home, asking the police for safe passage.Worried residents called up their relatives in different parts of the capital but few could reach them. Many were seen standing ahead of Jafrabad metro station towards Seelampur and asking people coming from the riot-hit zone if they were alright. “I had come to take my sister and her family but she told me people are pelting stones outside the house. I cannot reach her and I cannot leave her too,” said a 40-year old man.In one of the bylanes, a woman looked visibly worried as she waited for her grand daughter to return home. “I did not send the younger one to school but the elder one had to go. I regret sending her now. My heart is pounding with each passing minute,” she said. “My husband came here to collect some payment and the next call I got from him was that he was injured in the stone pelting,” said another woman. “Why are innocent people being attacked, we are not on any side,” said the woman.

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