Modi urges to maintain peace as death toll from Delhi riots rises to 20
A firefighter walks past damaged shops at a tyre market after they were set on fire by a mob in a riot affected area after clashes erupted between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law in New Delhi, India, February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
AT LEAST 20 people have been killed in the Indian capital during violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups over a new citizenship law.
Indian PM Modi has urged to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagged that the situation has become “alarming” and the Army should be called in as police is “unable to control it”.
“Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest,” Modi tweeted.
He further said that police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy.
“I have been in touch wid large no of people whole nite. Situation alarming. Police, despite all its efforts, unable to control situation and instil confidence. Army shud be called in and curfew imposed in rest of affected areas immediately. Am writing to Hon’ble HM to this effect,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Wednesday.
The sectarian violence in a mixed neighbourhood of Delhi, which coincided with a visit to India by U.S. President Donald Trump, erupted between thousands demonstrating for and against the new citizenship law introduced by Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.
After some of the worst violence in the capital in decades, police used tear gas, pellets and smoke grenades, but struggled to disperse stone-throwing mobs.
“The situation is relatively better than yesterday in the violence hit areas,” Atul Garg, the director of the Delhi fire department told Reuters on Wednesday, adding the fire department had stationed more vehicles and senior officials in the area.
At least two mosques in northeast Delhi were set on fire in the rioting.
On Wednesday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in a tweet that it was alarmed by the violence and it urged the Indian government “to rein in mobs and protect religious minorities and others who have been targeted.”
India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, who is directly responsible for law and order in the national capital area, held multiple high-level meetings to assess the situation and urged politicians to avoid provocative speeches that could fan tensions.
The Home Ministry also appointed a special commissioner of the Delhi Police to help bring the situation under control.