At least 24 killed in Delhi riots, over 200 injured

After more than three days of unprecedented violence in northeast Delhi, in which at least 24 people have died and at least 200 injured, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for “peace and brotherhood”, and said he has held an extensive review of the situation in various parts of the national capital.

“I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times,” PM Modi tweeted, in his first reaction to the violence.

Arson and vandalism marked unrelenting violence by groups of Hindus and Muslims over the controversial  citizenship law since Sunday.

On Wednesday, the body of a Intelligence Bureau driver, Ankit Sharma was recovered from a drain in Delhi’s Chand Bagh. He was returning home on Tuesday evening when he was allegedly attacked by a mob on a bridge and beaten to death.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who has been put in charge of restoring normalcy in the violence-hit parts of Delhi, visited the violence-hit areas to review security and also briefed Home Minister Amit Shah. The Delhi Police said they have registered 18 FIRs and arrested 106 people in connection with the violence, and that the situation is under control now.

Delhi Police has been heavily criticised for apparent inaction when the violence unfolded and for deploying inadequate forces on the ground.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, suggested that “the army should be called in”. On Tuesday, the Home Ministry had ruled out deployment of the army to end the violence, saying there is enough police and paramilitary personnel were on the ground.

The Delhi High Court, in a late-night order, asked the police to ensure safe passage and emergency treatment for those injured in the unprecedented violence in the capital since Sunday. Later during the day today the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi Police and the Modi Government over inaction. Lives could have been saved had the police acted in time, says Supreme Court judge K.M. Joseph said.

Ministers in the government have given statements claiming the violence appears to have been “orchestrated”, as it came at a time when US President Donald Trump was visiting the country.

Meanwhile, the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi hit out at the Modi government, saying the violence was the result of a conspiracy while demanding Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation.

“What was the Home Minister doing since last week? What was the Home Minister doing earlier this week? Why were the paramilitary forces not called in earlier when the Home Ministry saw the situation worsening,” Mrs Gandhi said at a press conference. “The central government, including the Home Minister, is responsible. The Congress party demands that he resign immediately,” she said.