The number of casualties as a result of large-scale mob violence in Delhi, much of it directed at Muslims, climbed to 27 on Wednesday, as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval took charge of the security situation and attempted to establish order in the affected areas of North East Delhi.
More stories of the violence that began on Sunday evening and continued over Monday and Tuesday emerged, as journalists – who were earlier prevented from entering many areas by violent mobs – managed to access some of the worst-hit neighbourhoods.
Police and paramilitary forces carried out flag marches, with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre saying that the situation was in control and did not warrant deployment of the Army, which was the request of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier in the day.
On the same day, the Delhi High Court also questioned the actions of the police, ordering better security and setting up of helplines, and slamming the authorities for not filing first information reports against BJP politicians who made incendiary, religiously divisive speeches.
Here are some of the updates from violence-affected neighbourhoods:
- National Security Advisor Ajit Doval took charge of the law and order situation in Delhi, walking through a number of the areas where he talked to those affected by the violence. In one case he was stopped by a young student in a burkha who said fear has taken root. However, Doval told the media that the situation was now “totally under control.”
- Doval submitted an assessment report of the measures taken to control the riots to the Cabinet Committee on Security. He also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the afternoon after his second visit to North East Delhi on Wednesday.
- In Gamri Extension, news emerged that an 85-year-old woman died after an armed mob of around 100 people set fire to the building in which her family resided.
- The body of an intelligence bureau officer, identified as Ankit Sharma, was found in a drain in Chand Bagh. Sharma was returning home on Tuesday evening when a mob pelted stones at him and beat him to death.
- Rajendra Kumar Mishra, a resident of Chand Bagh, alleged that the mob that caused violence, arson, and looting in the area for three days was made up of outsiders. Another resident, Mohan Singh Tomar, said that during the violence, local Muslims guarded three temples in the area and protected them from damage. “The temples are safe because of the communal harmony in our area,” he said.
- The Delhi Police allegedly destroyed CCTV cameras and manhandled protestors in Khureji Khas area. The police later cleared the site of protestors.
- Police personnel also beat up lawyers at the Jagatpuri police station. The lawyers, from the Indian Union of Civil Liberties and the Human Rights Law Network, had gone to the police station to secure the release of a detainee who had been protesting at Khureji Khas.
- A Hindu trader who plies his trade at Maujpur Chowk, near Chand Bagh, blamed the Delhi Police for the violence. “They are not reaching the troubled areas on time and are unable to control the situation,” he said. “The mob is inciting violence in the name of Hindus and disrespecting them. These people belong to a specific political party.”
- A school and a mosque were burnt in Mustafabad area on Tuesday evening. A mob allegedly shot at the people who were praying inside the mosque. The imam of the mosque was injured and had to be hospitalised.
- An independent journalist reported that a man named Marouf Ali, 32, from Bhajanpura was shot dead point blank on the forehead. She said his body was taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital. She added that four out of the five patients at the emergency neuro ward of the hospital, all Muslims, have lost their eyesight. She said that though the hospital falls under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government, there are not enough beds and officials are behaving in a bureaucratic manner.
- As of Wednesday evening, 35 patients remained admitted to the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. The number of patients who have been treated at the hospital is more than 200. However, 22 patients have died.