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Every one appears to be armed in violence-hit Northeast Delhi

The hotspots of Delhi violence are Maujpur, Babarpur, Jafrabad and Kardampuri in a radius of about 4 km

Tuesday February 25, 2020 9:22 PM, Sumit Kumar Singh, IANS

Delhi Riot Feb 2020

New Delhi: Every one appeared to be armed in violence-hit areas of north-east Delhi on Tuesday. Everyone is prepared to protect his house, family and their community.

Men, women, youths and even children are armed with iron and wooden rods, swords, country-made pistols, iron spatulas, iron chains attached with a heavy metal object, bats and petrol bombs.

The hotspots are Maujpur, Babarpur, Jafrabad and Kardampuri in a radius of about 4 km. "The houses -- around 1.5 lakh of them -- are located in small lanes and by-lanes," says a police officer.

"Nothing is normal in these areas. We have to save ourselves," said a man in a group sitting outside their house in Jafrabad.

In the last 48 hours, government has claimed that 10 people, including a Delhi Police Head Constable, have been killed and 56 police personnel and 119 residents injured.

The focal points of violence were Jafrabad metro station and Maujpur metro station -- a stretch of about a kilometre.

Violent clashes that took place throughout the day involved rioters, most of whom received bullet injuries. Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar said rioters resorted to firing too. "Several rounds were fired by rioters and many people were injured," said another police officer.

Police Stations locked out of fear

Policemen were not spared. Armed men attacked a Quick Response Team vehicle and hurled stones at a police Gypsy around 3 pm. Bullets were fired at police in Kardampuri area.

Fearing rioters will torch police stations, Jafrabad and Welcome police stations locked their doors from inside.

On several occasions, ambulances were not allowed to reach the rioting site where injured were lying in a pool of blood. Police resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas shelling to save themselves

More than a dozen shops were gutted.

In the first half of the day, rioting was between two groups living in Maujpur and Kardampuri towards Babarpur area. Hundreds of bullets were fired from Kardampuri area and in retaliation, people living in Maujpur area fired petrol bombs. Mostly affected were policemen standing between the rioters.

Attacks on journalists

Journalists were attacked when they tried to take videos and pictures. The violence continued till 2:40 pm.

In the second half of the day, rioting started at Jafrabad where protesters against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and National Register of Citizens (NRC) had gathered. They attacked police vans, police personnel and people living in Babarpur and Maujpur areas. They also torched shops and fired at the police.

The attacks took place between 3 pm to 5 pm. The crowd was very thin in the afternoon, but after 2 pm it suddenly swelled, and within an hour, violence started.

Violent incidents continued till late in the evening even after a Deputy Commissioner of Police along with prominent residents of the area appealed for calm.

The police morale appears too low as they feel none of the senior police officers has the guts to take a firm decision on the spot.

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