TENSIONS remained high in India’s capital Thursday (27), as thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrolled streets littered with the debris from days of sectarian riots that have killed 38 people.
An uneasy calm has descended over the affected northeast fringes of the Indian capital, punctuated by sporadic outbreaks of violence overnight.
The unrest was the latest bout of violence over prime minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law, which triggered months of demonstrations that turned deadly in December.
Sunil Kumar, director of the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, said Thursday it had registered 34 deaths, adding that “all of them had gunshot injuries”.
The chief doctor at Lok Nayak Hospital said three people had died there. Another victim died at Jag Parvesh Chander Hospital, an official said.
Kishore Singh, medical superintendent at Lok Nayak Hospital, told 10 people were still in a serious condition.
Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said families of those who died, were injured or had their businesses and homes destroyed during the rampage would be compensated.
Food and other support would also be provided to trashed neighbourhoods, he added.
Police said they had detained or arrested more than 500 suspects for questioning, and had also starting holding “peace committee meetings” across the megacity to “improve inter-community harmony”.
The new fatalities up from 27 on Wednesday (26) were all from the violence on Monday and Tuesday when mobs of Hindus and Muslims fought running battles, except for one from Wednesday.
The initial violence erupted late Sunday (23).
Groups armed with swords and guns set fire to thousands of properties and vehicles.
Homes, shops, two mosques, two schools, a tyre market and a fuel station were torched.
More than 200 people were also injured.
According to a list from the GTB hospital seen, the victims are a roughly even mix of Hindus and Muslims, based on their names.
Delhi police spokesman Mandeep Randhawa told that there was “no major incident” overnight, while the city’s chief fire officer Atul Garg said they received 19 distress calls.