A 60-year-old rag picker, Ayyub Shabbir on Friday became the latest victim of the violence that has gripped the city since Sunday, taking the death toll in the clashes to 42. Three other persons succumbed at the Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital to injuries sustained during the clashes.
Senior IPS officer S.N. Shrivastava has been given additional charge of Commissioner of Police, Delhi from March 1 until “further orders,” an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said. Present Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik is set to retire on February 29. Mr. Shrivastava, a 1985-batch IPS officer was recalled from the CRPF last week following the riots in northeast Delhi.
Friday’s death calls into question the Delhi Police spokesman’s claims that the situation in the northeastern part of the city was “under control”.
Shabbir’s son Salman said he died of head injuries while being taken to hospital. “I had cautioned my father against going out today [Friday] but he said the situation is normal now and we cannot stay inside for long and not earn anything,” a grief-stricken Mr. Salman said.
Four other persons succumbed to injuries. “The total deaths in our hospital stands at 38 [of this, 28 were brought dead and 10 people died during treatment]. Patients have come in with burns, stab, blunt assault, and gun wounds. We have received 215 patients from February 24 onwards,” an official at the GTB Hospital said.
Baijal promises help
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal visited parts of the riot-hit areas, met residents and assured them of assistance in “bringing back normalcy”. In a tweet, he said: “Delhi Police to ensure continued domination of the area.”
“ @Delhipolice to prevent any untoward incident, have swift & effective response to any untoward situation. EDMC to clean area extensively. Police to intensify outreach activities & build confidence of people I once again urge all to maintain peace & harmony,” he added.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, said the Delhi government has set up nine shelters for riot-affected people. He announced immediate assistance of ₹25,000 to those whose houses had been burnt completely.
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For NGOs and others who are looking to help by providing relief materials, he said that the District Magistrate’s office in north-east Delhi was the headquarters to receive all materials.
Friday prayers were not held at the mosque in Ashok Nagar, which was vandalised, and burnt after a saffron flag was hoisted on it on February 25. The video of the incident had gone viral on social media. The damaged structure was guarded by CISF officials and groups of local Hindus stood outside. Some Muslim families, living in the area have fled the area after their houses were burnt down during the violence.
Scrores of Muslim women whose houses in Shiv Vihar, one of the worst affected places, had been burnt down, found refuge at a furniture warehouse in nearby Chaman Park. People in the neighbourhood are said to have pooled resources to assist those displaced. Soni, one of the displaced, hoped she could return home as soon as possible and live in peace, and wanted assistance in rebuilding her life.
(with PTI inputs)