The death toll in Delhi’s worst-ever communal violence since 1984 rose to 27, with 14 more persons succumbing to injuries sustained in clashes that began over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Sunday evening.
After four days, both the Centre and the Delhi government swung into action, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal going to the disturbed parts of the city on Wednesday to rebuild confidence among people.
In a walkabout shown live on television, Mr. Doval spoke to residents, some of whom posed tough questions. A bearded man could be heard telling him: “Muslims are being killed wherever their numbers are few.”
“The situation is under control and people are satisfied. We have confidence in law enforcement agencies. The police are doing their job and are alert,” Mr. Doval said, suggesting that the demand for calling out the Army was not under consideration.
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Minutes after Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah , Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for calm and normalcy to be restored at the earliest. These were his first public comments on the violence since Sunday.
Earlier, at an unprecedented midnight hearing , the Delhi High Court directed the police to ensure safe passage for ambulances from a small hospital in the affected area to a better-equipped hospital.
Addressing the Assembly, Mr. Kejriwal, who has come under fire for not reaching out to the people, said, “This was not done by Delhi’s common people. It was done by people from outside, political and anti-social elements. Because of the actions of these people, some areas of Delhi are burning.”
“We are hearing that it is a Hindu-Muslim fight. Hindu and Muslims are not fighting in Delhi,” he said. He then read out the names of those who have died in the violence in north-east Delhi and said both Hindus and Muslims had died.
Though Wednesday witnessed fewer incidents than the previous three days, reporters saw fresh cases of the wounded and dead being brought to Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital.
Delhi police PRO M.S. Randhawa said a total of 18 FIRs had been registered and 106 people arrested for indulging in the violence and killings.
“We have obtained CCTV footage of miscreants to identify them and are using drones to check rooftops. We will take action against the building owners if stones are found on the rooftops. On Wednesday, we conducted route marches, and calls to police control rooms were monitored by senior police officers,” Mr. Randhawa said.
The list of the dead at GTB Hospital is Deepak (34), Ishak Khan (24), Mohammad Mudassar (30), Vir Bhan (50), Mohammad Mubarak Hussain (28), Shan Maohammad (35), Pravesh (48), Zakir (24), Mehtab (22), Ashfaque (22), Rahul Solanki (26), Shahid (25), Mohammad Furkan (30), Rahul Thakur (23), Ratan Lal (42), Ankit Sharma (26) and Dilbar. Five bodies are yet to be identified at the hospital.
The two dead at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital are Mahroof Ali (32) and Amaan.