Delhi constable killed amidst clashes between pro- and anti-CAA protesters

The constable, Ratan Lal, succumbed to grievous injuries after he was struck by stones during the clashes on Monday.
Delhi constable killed amidst clashes between pro- and anti-CAA protesters
Delhi constable killed amidst clashes between pro- and anti-CAA protesters
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A Delhi Police head constable was killed during clashes over the new citizenship law in northeast Delhi on Monday, a senior officer said. The constable was repeatedly struck by stones and sustained grave injuries. He was taken to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Pro and anti-CAA groups clashed in the area for a second consecutive day on Monday and hurled stones at each other in parts of Northeast Delhi. On Monday afternoon, at least two houses, a fire tender and vehicles were set on fire in the Jaffrabad and Maujpur areas. Violence was also reported from the Chandbagh area in Jaffrabad.

The constable who was killed, Ratan Lal, was attached to the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gokulpuri. Several police personnel have been injured in the clashes, according to the Delhi Police.

In another incident, a man fired eight rounds from a country-made pistol, reportedly on the Jaffrabad-Maujpur road. The gunman was ultimately overpowered by the police.

Police had to fire tear gas shells as members of the two groups pelted stones at each other in Maujpur, soon after a gathering, called by BJP leader Kapil Mishra, demanded that the police remove anti-CAA protestors within three days. 

“We have given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the road cleared. Get the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh (where another sit-in protest is underway) road cleared,” Mishra said in a tweet on Sunday, along with a clip of him speaking. 

In the clip, he can be heard saying, "They (the protesters) want to create trouble in Delhi. That’s why they have closed the roads. That’s why they have created a riot-like situation here. We have not pelted any stones. Till Trump is in India, we will leave peacefully. After that we won’t listen to you (police) if the roads are not vacated,” he said. 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday urged Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to restore law and order in the wake of violence in parts of northeast Delhi during protests for and against the new citizenship law.

"I sincerely urge Hon'ble LG n Hon'ble Union Home Minister to restore law and order n ensure that peace and harmony is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations (sic)," he tweeted.

Protests and rallies by anti- and pro-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) groups rocked the area on Sunday, with pro-CAA groups rallying at the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station, and Maujpur chowk, while the anti-CAA protesters held fort in Kabir Nagar and Jaffarabad areas.

The entry and exit gates of Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations were shuttered by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation amidst security concerns.

"We have spoken to both sides, now the situation is calm. We are continuously speaking to people, now the situation is under control," Ved Prakash Surya, Deputy Commissioner of Police for North East Delhi told the media.

Section 144 has been imposed in 10 locations across Northeast Delhi.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal has directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to maintain law and order in the region. 

Police fired tear gas shells and also resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the protesters. A few policemen also attempted to pacify the groups.

According to officials, a fire tender was damaged by protesters after it responded to a fire call in the area.

After the clashes on Monday, Kapil Mishra once again said that anti-CAA protesters were rioting in Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Karaval Nagar, Maujpur, Babarpur and Jaffrabad, and that the police “should immediately and forcefully remove these people from the streets of Chand Bagh and Jaffrabad.”

Tension has been brewing in eastern Delhi since Saturday night, following the blockade of a road in Jaffrabad by anti-CAA protesters in response to a call for bandh on Sunday by Chandrashekhar Azad of the Bhim Army.

On Sunday, a large number of security personnel were deployed in Jaffrabad as hundreds of people, mostly women, who had been protesting against the CAA blocked a road near the metro station since the Saturday evening, demanding a rollback of the contentious act. The 400-metre-stretch between Maujpur traffic signal and Babarpur station, was strewn with bricks and stones after the clashes.

The two groups blamed each other for starting the violence.

The tension in Delhi continues amidst US President Donald Trump's first visit to India. After a trip to Sabarmati Ashram and Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were heading to the Taj Mahal in Agra, after which they will travel to New Delhi. 

The Trumps are expected to attend a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday morning. Following this, a meeting is scheduled between Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, located about 16 km away from where the violence is unfolding.

With inputs from agencies

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