Sufficient numbers of security personnel have been deployed to combat and control violence that has hit parts of northeast Delhi and claimed the lives of at least 13 people, including a policeman, Delhi Police said on Tuesday, denying reports it had told the Union Home Ministry – to whom it reports – that “non-availability of adequate forces” had led to an escalation of violence.
“Information is wrong. Home Ministry is continually supporting us and we have adequate forces. Delhi Police denies this completely,” Amulya Patnaik, Police Commissioner (Delhi), told news agency ANI.
However, this statement, also issued by Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa at a press conference on Tuesday evening, appears to contradict that by a senior officer who earlier said “non-availability of adequate forces was conveyed by Delhi Police Commissioner” during a meeting with Home Ministry.
The officer said “non-availability of forces” had led to escalation of violence on Monday.
The PRO’s statement also contradicts visuals of clashes in areas like Chandbagh, Bhajanpura, Jaffrabad and Maujpur, where tear gas has been fired and buildings have been set on fire on Tuesday evening, as armed goons roam the streets in defiance of a police order banning large gatherings.
“Senior officials are on the ground and constantly monitoring. Don’t pay heed to rumours… we are responding to incidents that occurred despite Section 144 (banning of large gatherings),” MS Randhawa said on Tuesday, adding that 67 companies – each with 70 to 100 personnel – had been deployed.
According to the PRO this includes both police and paramilitary personnel – like Central Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force.
He also pointed out around 2,000 personnel had been dispatched on Sunday after the first incidents of stone throwing were reported. This number, he added, had now been increased to around 6,700.
A battalion of armed police, containing around 1,000 personnel, has also been deployed.
The police has filed a total of 11 first information reports (FIRs) and have enlisted the use of drones to monitor the situation from the air.
The police have also been provided with 35 companies of paramilitary forces, but 20 of these had been given in the last 72 hours with a view to enhance security for US President Donald Trump’s visit.
Despite suggestions of inadequate forces, the Union Home Ministry has ruled out calling in the army.
Responding to the violence, Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Monday night. According to Mr Kejriwal, the minister assured police support to end the violence.
The situation is under control, the Home Ministry said.
Horrific and unrelenting violence consumed northeast Delhi on Monday, leaving at least 10 dead and over a 100 injured. Shops were burnt and goons and miscreants armed with sticks and rods rampaged through the streets of the Bhajanpura, Chandbagh and Karawal Nagar areas, among others.
Government sources have said the violence appeared to have been “orchestrated” by some for publicity as it comes at a time when US President Donald Trump is visiting the country.
Mr Trump, who is making his first official visit to India, is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country during his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Fresh violence hit the affected areas this morning. In Maujpur, where more stone throwing has been reported, a group of people travelling in an e-rickshaw were thrashed and looted of their valuables.
“The situation is very tense. We are continuously receiving calls related to incidents of violence from northeast Delhi,” Delhi Police said in a statement.
With input from ANI