Delhi violence death toll reaches 42

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International desk, Feb 28: Indian Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with senior officers of the Delhi Police to review the situation in Delhi following widespread violence over the controversial citizenship law that has left at least 42 dead, reports NDTV.The Home Ministry in a statement said considering the improvement in the situation, the ban on large gatherings in northeast Delhi areas hit by violence will be removed for 10 hours on Friday – 4 am to 10 am, and 4 pm to 8 pm.

“No major incident has been reported in the last 36 hours in… northeast (Delhi),” it said.

Clashes broke out on Sunday last between supporters and those who are protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in northeast Delhi.

The violence spiralled in the following days. Homes and shops were burnt, people were thrashed by mobs and vehicles were torched in the clashes.

People should “not believe in rumours and fall prey to evil designs of miscreants and groups interested in precipitating communal tension”, the Home Ministry said in  statement. “Only 12 police stations out of the 203 in Delhi or about 4.2 per cent of Delhi were been affected by these riots,” it said.

The Delhi Police has started holding peace meetings to “improve inter-community harmony”, it said. “Such peace committee meetings would continue till situation normalises. So far, nearly 330 meetings have been organised,” the Home Ministry said. It said the members who attended the peace meetings include people affiliated to political parties – BJP, Aam Aadmi Party, Congress – and members of resident welfare associations.

Forty-eight police cases have been filed and more will be registered “in due course”, the Home Ministry said. At least 514 people have been detained for questioning, the police said in their latest statement, adding more First Information Reports (FIRs) will be filed as investigation progresses.

The Delhi Police has been criticised for being slow to react to the violence and for failing to file FIRs over alleged hate speeches made by leaders like the BJP’s Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma.

No FIRs have been filed against BJP leaders for alleged hate speeches. The Delhi High Court on Thursday gave the police four weeks to take a call on this matter; on Wednesday Justice S Muralidhar had demanded an answer within 24 hours.