The CBSE has deferred board examinations scheduled for Wednesday in violence-hit parts of northeast Delhi; two Class 10 exams and three Class 12 exams have been postponed
New Delhi: Thirteen people have been killed and more than 150 – including a child – injured as armed mobs rampaged through parts of northeast Delhi on Tuesday, looting and burning buildings and vehicles as the government hosts US President Donald Trump and his family only 15 kilometres away. Smoke was seen rising from buildings and streets were strewn with rocks and broken glasses after three days of violence between pro- and anti-citizenship law protesters. The violence, which left neighbourhoods looking as though it was a war zone, also led to the postponement of CBSE board exams to be held in affected areas on Wednesday. Delhi Police, heavily criticised for apparent inaction in this time, responded late on Tuesday evening with a renewed push through violent-hit areas. Shocking visuals showed tear gas being fired and pitched battles between protesters and outnumbered cops in areas like Chandbagh and Bhajanpura. Late at night, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Northeast Delhi, to take stock of the law and order situation.
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The Union Home Ministry, which said on Monday evening that the situation was under control, repeated those assurances on Tuesday, even as it ruled out calling in the army to deal with the violence. The ministry said that adequate central and police forces were on the ground. Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting with cops and officials on Tuesday evening – his third in 24 hours – to discuss the violence.
- The ministry’s comments about adequate police forces contradict statements made by senior Delhi Police officers, who said “non-availability of forces” led to escalation of violence on Monday; this was conveyed to the Home Ministry by Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, the officer said. Hours later the Delhi top cop denied the report, insisting he and his colleagues had received full support from the ministry.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was seen praying at Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, as he urged people to stop the violence and requested temples and mosques to issue calls for peace. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who accompanied him and other AAP leaders, later raged that “monsters” had entered the national capital.
- In the evening a renewed push by police had cleared the Jaffrabad Metro Station of anti-citizenship law protesters; a group of women had begun a sit-in protest at the spot on Saturday night. Police then began moving towards Maujpur, where stone throwing on Sunday had sparked the violence
- Maujpur was where local BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who has a history of making communal and incendiary comments, led a pro-citizenship law rally on Sunday. At the rally, Kapil Mishra gave an ultimatum to the police, warning them “to clear the roads (of protesters in Jaffrabad) or we won’t listen to you”
- Large gatherings have been banned – as per orders issued under Section 144 – across northeast Delhi. These orders have been in place since Monday night but have had limited effect. On Tuesday evening, while denying reports of a curfew having been imposed, Delhi Police also appealed for peace. Taking to Twitter, the police said it was making “earnest efforts… to restore normalcy“.
- The CBSE, in response to fears of students, has postponed Board exams scheduled for Wednesday in parts of northeast Delhi. These include two in English Literature for Class X and three in Media and Web Applications for Class XII. Meanwhile, the Delhi government has ordered all private and government schools to remain closed.
- Authorities have begun releasing details of those killed. Four have been identified, of whom two – an auto rickshaw driver (Shahid, 26) and a handicrafts trader (Mohammad Furkan, 32) are Muslims. The other two – a marketing executive (Rahul Solanki, 26) and a policeman (Ratan Lal, 42) are Hindus. Through the day goons forced citizens to prove identities and religion.
- IPS officer SN Shrivastava, who is tipped to take over from Amulya Patnaik, was appointed Special Commissioner (Law and Order, Delhi) late tonight after the Home Ministry repatriated him from the CRPF to help control violence in the national capital,
- Government sources have said the violence appears to have been “orchestrated”, as it comes at a time when US President Donald Trump is visiting the country. Mr Trump was asked for his reaction to the violence and said he had not discussed it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it is “up to India” to deal with it“. However, he did say America appreciated PM Modi’s efforts to ensure religious freedom in India.