New Delhi Violence: Cops arrest over 500 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:28 AM, February 29, 2020

New Delhi Violence: Cops arrest over 500

US urges India to allow peaceful assembly; death toll rises to 42

Indian police have arrested 514 people for deadly violence that broke out in the capital, the government said, as it faced mounting international criticism for failing to protect minority Muslims.

Police said the toll from days of blood-letting stood at 42 as clouds of smoke cleared to reveal the extent of the damage from the worst violence in Delhi in more than three decades and people gingerly stepped out for work and opened shops and other establishments.

More forces had been deployed at mosques in the area for the weekly Friday prayers, the government said. There had been no new violence since Wednesday morning, it said in a statement late on Thursday.

Police are still searching drains and homes that were burnt down for bodies, officers said.

The United States on Thursday urged India to respect the right to peaceful assembly and called on all sides to refrain from violence.

Addressing a press conference, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal yesterday said that the government has made arrangements for accommodation for the violence-affected people of northeast Delhi.

"We've made arrangements for accommodation at our 9 Rain Baseras and local community centres for people whose houses are completely burnt down or those who can't go back to their homes. If needed, we'll also arrange temporary tents for people," Kejriwal announced.

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal yesterday visited the violence-affected areas in northeast Delhi to take stock of the situation and interacted with locals.

Meanwhile, Shrivastava replaced Amulya Patnaik as Delhi Police Commissioner. He was posted with Delhi Police as Special CP and is given additional charge of the post of Commissioner of Police, Delhi with effect from March 1.

NORMALCY RETURNING

Police and paramilitary personnel maintained strict vigil in view of Friday prayers at mosques. Shops and other establishments opened in some places and more private vehicles were seen on roads.

Autos and e-rickshaws also began plying in some of the violence-hit areas as people stepped out of their homes to get back to work or catch up on essential errands.

Police has appealed to people residing in north-east Delhi that if they had witnessed violent incidents, they should come forward and share their ordeal and videos with the police.

Local mosques appealed for peace and harmony and put out announcements asking people not to fall prey to rumours and cooperate with police, reports Times of India.

The violence began over a citizenship law that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government introduced in December providing a path to Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighbouring countries, but not Muslims.

Critics say the law is discriminatory and comes on top of other measures such as withdrawal of autonomy for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir that has deepened disquiet about the future of India's 200 million Muslims, reports Reuters.

Critics of the government however blamed this week's violence on members of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was trounced in local Delhi elections at the beginning of the month. The BJP has denied the allegations.

Ultimately, the violence morphed into street battles between groups with the police largely ineffective in controlling the situation.

The Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has condemned the violence against Muslims and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties.

US Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders accused President Donald Trump of failing on the issue of human rights after he refused to be drawn into criticising New Delhi for its handling of unrests in the capital. Trump was on a state visit to India when the violence broke out. 

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