Cop killed in Delhi clashes over CAA, US President Trump reaches in India

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International desk, Feb 24: A Delhi Police officer was killed and another injured today as violence broke out across multiple northeast Delhi neighbourhoods for a second time in less than 24 hours.

Protesters for and against the controversial citizenship law threw stones, set vehicles and shops ablaze and transformed parts of the national capital into a war zone, forcing the deployment of paramilitary forces and the banning of large gatherings in the area.

The violence comes hours before United States President Donald Trump is expected in Delhi as part of his two-day state visit.

It also comes close on the heels of clashes near Jaffrabad on Sunday afternoon, where over 1,000 women have gathered since Saturday night in a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA.

Several members belonging to the minority community were thrashed by a mob just before the Khajuri Khas area. People belonging to the minority community were reportedly singled out — whether they were on foot or in vehicles — and beaten up, according to our reporter on the ground. Later, the police arrived in the area.

The violence over the CAA had begun on Sunday. On Monday, fresh cases of stone pelting were reported from near the Babarpur-Maujpur metro station. Later, a similar incident was also reported from Khajuri Khas area.

Vehicles, shops and a house were set on fire in the vandalism. Videos and photos show paramilitary police deployed in the area and protesters pelting stones. Flame and smoke can be seen billowing from buildings close to the metro station. Two mini-trucks were also vandalised, and a fire tender was reportedly torched.

The Delhi Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters and also appealed to residents to maintain peace and harmony. Stone pelting was still continuing in the evening in the Khajuri area.

Tensions have escalated hours before U.S. President Donald Trump was scheduled to reach Delhi for bilateral talks as part of his first state visit to India. While Trump will stay more than 20 kilometres from the violence in central Delhi, he is scheduled to travel to the Rashtrapati Bhawan as well as Raj Ghat in Old Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who took oath as a member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly as it began a three-day session, took to Twitter, calling the news regarding “disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi” as “very disturbing”. He urged Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to restore law and order. “Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations,” he added.

The Lt. Governor, meanwhile, tweeted, “Instructed @DelhiPolice and @CPDelhi to ensure that law and order is maintained in North East Delhi. The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for maintenance of peace and harmony.”

Kejriwal later said that he spoke to the Lt. Governor, who assured him that more police deployment is being ensured. “Violence by anyone will not be tolerated. I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. Violence will not beget any solution,” he added.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also appealed to the people of Delhi to maintain peace. In a tweet in Hindi, he said, “Everyone loses from violence. The fires of violence can cause losses, which cannot be compensated ever.”

Pro and anti-CAA groups clash in Delhi

Earlier in the day, the Delhi Metro closed entry and exit at Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations. Later, entry and exit gates of Gokulpuri, Johri Enclave and Shiv Vihar were also closed, and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said trains will terminate at Welcome metro station.

The violence comes a day after a clash broke out in Maujpur between the two groups near the Jaffarabad Metro Station, where one side of the carriageway had been blocked by anti-CAA protesters since morning. After slogan shouting from both sides, the groups started pelting stones at each other, leading to chaos in the area.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also appealed to the people of Delhi to maintain peace. In a tweet in Hindi, he said, “Everyone loses from violence. The fires of violence can cause losses, which cannot be compensated ever.”

Source: News Agencies