Clashes over citizenship law claim 2 lives in capital amid Trump’s visit2 min read . Updated: 25 Feb 2020, 01:01 AM IST
- North-east Delhi has been put under lockdown ahead of President Trump’s arrival in the national capital
- Shops and vehicles were set ablaze as pro- and anti-CAA protesters pelted stones at each other
NEW DELHI : A policeman and a civilian were killed in north-east Delhi on Monday as the weekend’s protests against the citizenship law flared into violent clashes just hours before President Donald Trump’s arrival in the capital.
The police constable was killed in Gokulpuri while the civilian died of gunshot wounds in Maujpur-Babarpur as the violence took political centre stage, prompting authorities to place the north-east district under lockdown.
The district became the epicentre of violence over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, on Sunday and Monday, even as Delhi police and the Union home ministry tried to prevent a spillover of the unrest ahead of Trump’s arrival.
Shops and vehicles were set ablaze as pro- and anti-CAA protesters pelted stones at each other in Jaffrabad, Maujpur and Gokulpuri areas of north-east Delhi. A large number of injuries were also reported.
The central government has struggled to end anti-CAA protests that have erupted across the country since the law was passed in both Houses of Parliament in December.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, who reviewed the situation on Monday after the police constable’s death, said senior officers had been deployed and that the “situation is under control."
Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal said he had instructed the Delhi Police commissioner to ensure that law and order is maintained in north-east Delhi. “The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for maintenance of peace and harmony," he said. His comments followed Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urging the Centre to contain the violence.
Monday marked the second of day of clashes.
The police fired teargas shells in Maujpur area, while a mob torched and vandalized property in Bhajanpura. Paramilitary forces were called in to restore law and order.
“Police are stationed at strategically located areas where there is potential of disturbance like Jaffrabad, Seelampur, Maujpur, Gautampuri, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Mustafabad, Wazirabad, Shiv Vihar," joint commissioner of police (eastern range) Alok Kumar said.
Delhi Metro authorities sealed the entry and exit points at Metro stations in the area.
Clashes had broken out on Sunday evening between pro- and anti-CAA groups near Jaffrabad after a large number of people who had been protesting against the law blocked a road. This prompted a series of sit-ins in other parts of the national capital, even as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra demanded that anti-CAA protesters be removed by the police at the earliest.
Meanwhile, senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, who were appointed as interlocutors for the Shaheen Bagh protest by the Supreme Court to resolve the impasse, submitted their report in a sealed cover to the apex court on Monday, although the protest continued. The top court last week appointed the duo to hold talks with the protesters at Shaheen Bagh and convince them to change the venue of their agitation so that no public place is blocked.Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi has been the nerve centre of protests against the CAA. Hundreds of people, led by women, have been sitting on a stretch of road in south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh for more than two months to protest against the CAA. This has led to frequent traffic jams.
Prathma Sharma contributed to this story.