Delhi violence: Death toll mounts to 38

Delhi violence: Death toll mounts to 38

 People leave their houses following clashes over the new citizenship law, in northeast Delhi, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

Death toll in the communal riots in north east Delhi that started four days ago rose to 38 on Thursday with 11 more people losing their lives -- nine succumbing to injuries during treatment and recovery of two bodies from drains -- even as incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported again in some localities.

Of the 38 people died, 34 died in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Dilshad Garden near the violence-hit areas. GTB Hospital Medical Director Sunil Kumar said 25 of them were brought dead while nine died during treatment.

While a total of 215 people were brought with injuries to GTB hospital, now only 51 are still in GTB hospital with doctors saying the condition of all of them are stable. Over 40 people were brought to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital near Delhi Gate.

Delhi Police transferred the cases related to the communal clashes to Crime Branch and set up two Special Investigation Teams (SIT) to investigate at least 48 FIRs already registered by local police in connection with the violence. As of now, 130 people have been arrested while analysis of over 50 phones seized from them are on.

The SITs, which will be headed Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) Joy Tirkey and Rajesh Deo, will have four Assistant Commissioner-rank officials each and the probe will be supervised by Additional Commissioner of Police B K Singh. 

The day also saw the police slapping murder charges against AAP councillor Tahir Hussain holding him responsible for the killing of Intelligence Bureau Security Assistant Ankit Sharma. AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj demanded that Delhi Police's Station House Officers in riot-hit areas should undergo narco-analysis test to ascertain truth amid allegations that police was complacent in containing the situation and aiding rioters.

There were incidents of vehicles and shops being set on fire in Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Brijpuri and Shiv Vihar among other localities. There were also reports of a mosque and two schools being set on fire in some localities.

Stone-pelting incidents were reported in Chand Bagh on Wednesday late night, hours after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's visit, as well as on Thursday. Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Law and Order) S N Shrivastava, who is likely to be next Commissioner, too visited some localities on Thursday.

Locals suggested that the site of violence has now moved from the main road to bylanes where there is mobilisation and there still exists an atmosphere of fear. Shops remained closed and people were finding it difficult to buy food articles with some are anxious as their supplies are running short.

Locals said a group of rioters was seen in Yamuna Vihar in the wee hours of Thursday, who pour inflammable liquid on some vehicles and set them on fire. As locals raised an alarm, they fled.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced that his government will give Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who lost their lives and those seriously injured will get Rs 2 lakh. He also said the government will bear the cost of the treatment of those injured in the violence and admitted to private hospitals. 

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