Delhi violence | Arvind Kejriwal urges riot-affected families to return home

NHRC sets up team to probe Delhi violence

Incendiary slogans of “Shoot the traitors” — raised by BJP leaders during the recent election campaign — were shouted at one of the busiest stations on the Delhi Metro network and during a peace march in the centre of the city on February 29, as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal issued an appeal to displaced residents of riot-hit northeast Delhi to return to their homes.

Delhi violence | Arvind Kejriwal urges riot-affected families to return home

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) deputed a fact-finding team to investigate cases of communal violence in the national capital, where at least 42 people were killed and over 200 injured between February 23 and 25.

Though no violence was reported in the riot-affected northeast district, residents of the affected areas were hesitant to resume work. Though many shops re-opened, the shopkeepers said the employees were scared to return.

Assuming charge as acting Commissioner of Police, S.N. Srivastava said his first priority was to bring back peace and communal harmony to the city. He also said the police were registering riot cases and including murder sections to the charges to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again.

The police continued to patrol the areas and a heavy deployment of security personnel was seen across the district. Senior officials held meetings with residents to restore peace in the area.

According to the police, a total of 167 FIRs have been registered and 885 persons have been held in connection with the riots. The police also claim that social media accounts and web pages which were circulating offensive content have been suspended. Delhi Police PRO M.S. Randhawa said no PCR call regarding rioting was received on February 29.

Earlier on February 29, a group of five to six men wearing saffron T-shirts and kurtas allegedly engaged in sloganeering on a train about to halt at the Rajiv Chowk Metro and continued shouting slogans after getting off train. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, responsible for the security of the Delhi Metro, intercepted the group and handed them over to the Delhi Police.

“On February 29, at about 10:25 hours, six youths were seen shouting slogans at Rajiv Chowk metro station, Delhi. They were immediately intercepted by CISF personnel & thereafter handed over to Delhi Metro Rail Police officials for further action. Metro Rail operation remained,” the CISF said in a statement. DCP (Metro) Vikram Porwal said, “We have detained six men and they are being questioned.”

In the meantime, hundreds of people, including BJP leader Kapil Mishra, marched in Connaught Place using the tagline ‘#DelhiAgainstJehadiViolence’ in which several people were found raising “inflammatory” slogans.

The march was taken out under the banner of “Delhi Peace Forum” in the backdrop of the communal violence that took place in parts of north-east Delhi, in which 42 people have died since Sunday. Though Mr. Mishra did not make any statement, participants, many sporting saffron scarfs and some identifying themselves as RSS and VHP workers, demanded the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and that roads in the country be cleared of protesters.

Schools in the violence-affected areas of north east Delhi, the Directorate of Education (DoE) said, will remain closed till March 7 as the situation is not conducive for conduct of annual examinations. The Delhi government said it would release a WhatsApp number on which people can forward provocative messages, along with details of those circulating such “inflammatory” messages.

Despite the Delhi government declaring that schools in the north east parts of Delhi will remain closed until March 7, however, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said that Class 10 and 12 board examinations will be held as scheduled from March 2 onwards in these parts of the city as well.

The CBSE had earlier postponed board examinations in up to 86 centres in East and North East Delhi between February 26 and 29, due to the unrest there. These centres are all Delhi schools, which will now stay closed until March 7, as per the state government's order.

“The board has filed an affidavit in Delhi High Court and the court has directed Delhi Police and Delhi government to ensure safety of students and render all help to conduct exams in these areas,” said a CBSE spokesperson.

Meanwhile, following Mr. Kejriwal’s announcement of compensation for riot victims, several people, on February 29, queued up at the North-East Delhi SDM office to complete the required formalities.
While victims were required to bring their government IDs, volunteers assured those who turned up, that in cases where documents have been destroyed, authorities would carry out the verification by using phone numbers or the Aadhar biometrics. Many of those who turned up at the SDM office also raised questions over the procedure as authorities were not issuing a receipt against the applications being submitted.

The Delhi government has also set up relief camps, residents of the violence affected areas said that they preferred to stay in nearby localities where several NGOs and other private organisations are providing supplies and relief materials.

Credit: The Hindu

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