Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday urged the people of Delhi to maintain communal harmony and defeat forces that intend to divide the country on the basis of religion. Her statement came hours after violent clashes erupted between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and its opponents in North East Delhi. A constable was among five people killed, and at least 50 people were injured as mobs threw stones at each other, and set shops, houses and vehicles on fire.
“There can be no space for violence in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, nor can there be any place in the country for forces that seek to impose their communal and divisive ideology on the people,” Gandhi said in a statement. She offered her condolences to the bereaved family of head constable Ratan Lal, who was killed in the violence.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condemned the violence. “The violence today in Delhi is disturbing and must be unequivocally condemned,” he tweeted. “Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion and understanding no matter what the provocation.”
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also urged the people of Delhi to maintain communal harmony. “The day in Delhi was full of violence,” she tweeted. “Only common people face the brunt of violence. It is our responsibility to stop this. Mahatma Gandhi’s country is the country of peace. I want to appeal to the people of Delhi to maintain peace, and I urge Congress workers to help maintain peace and harmony.”
Violence took place in Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Bhajanpura, Kardampuri, Dayalpur and Chandbagh areas – located less than 15 km from the city’s centre – hours before United States President Donald Trump was to reach the national capital.
Prohibitory orders were imposed in affected areas, while all private and government schools have been ordered to remain shut on Tuesday. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation shut down five metro stations – Jaffrabad, Maujpur-Babarpur, Gokulpuri, Johri Enclave and Shiv Vihar. The first two stations have been closed since Sunday.
Security forces conducted flag marches after the mob had dispersed.Home Ministry officials claimed that the violence appeared to have been orchestrated in view of United States President Donald Trump’s visit.
This was the second day clashes broke out. On Sunday evening, there was stone pelting in Jaffrabad soon after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra gave the police a three-day ultimatum to stop an anti-CAA protest that began on Saturday night. Mishra said he would not listen even to the police after three days.