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Tense calm after the storm

Tense calm after the storm

New Delhi: With the convulsion of religious violence in north-east Delhi subsiding to an extent on the fourth day, at least 38 people lost their lives, out of whom only 22 have been identified, and around 300 were injured as residents of the areas slowly scrambled back to life after what could be easily described as one of the worst riots in the history of Delhi.

In another development, AAP councillor Tahir Hussain on Thursday was suspended by the party after he was charged with murder in connection with the death of Intelligence Bureau (IB) employee, Ankit Sharma, whose body was recovered from Chand Bagh area. Hussain has been booked under Section 302 IPC (punishment for murder) at Dayalpur police station.

According to the hospital authorities, the deceased persons suffered several kinds of injuries including gunshots, burns, stones and other weapons. Over 30 deaths were reported in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital alone, according to authorities.

Meanwhile, three people have died at Lok Nayak and one at Jag Pravesh Chandra Hospital. As many as 25 were brought dead and rest have died after getting admitted, according to sources. On the other hand, more than 300 people have been reportedly injured and are admitted in different hospitals. Many were hurt while jumping from rooftops to escape the rioters.

Shops and schools were closed and many streets wore a deserted look on Thursday. Amid tension, few shops opened in the area so that residents could buy essential items. Many families in the area are even afraid to venture out of their homes. Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel were seen patrolling the streets of the region amid reports of sporadic violence on Thursday. Two more bodies have been recovered from a drain in Gaganvihar.

Those few out on the streets walked quietly past the blackened car hulks and smashed homes.

Fear dominated in Shiv Vihar with Hindus feeling their community had incurred more losses than their neighbouring Muslim brethren. On the other side of the canal, the Muslims echoed similar thoughts.

Shiv Vihar was among the worst-affected areas. In Johripur, burnt houses, shops and schools tell a story of the indescribable violence witnessed since Sunday night. One of the most hostile areas, Johripur has literally turned into ashes. The area also witnessed heavy deployment of paramilitary forces as the situation is still hostile.

Meanwhile, even after NSA Ajit Doval's visit in the area, the situation remained tense as the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) received 19 calls from midnight to 8 am on Thursday from violence-hit areas of north-east Delhi. More reports of unrest poured in from Bhajanpura, Maujpur and Karawal Nagar areas late on Wednesday. "More than 100 firemen were deployed in the area," said Delhi Fire Services (DFS) Director Atul Garg.

The Delhi Police has transferred north-east Delhi riots probe to the Crime Branch and the cases will be probed by two Special Investigation Teams (SITs). According to an order, the teams will be headed Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) Joy Tirkey and Rajesh Deo. The teams will have four Assistant Commissioner of Police-rank officers each and the probe will be supervised by Additional Commissioner of Police B K Singh.

Delhi Police has filed 48 FIRs and arrested over 120 people in connection with the violence. According to police sources, WhatsApp was used to organise goons from Uttar Pradesh and to identify areas to target. "Various WhatsApp groups were formed to mobilise and provoke people to attack," sources said adding that over 50 phones have seized from the accused.

Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa on Thursday said the situation in the violence-hit north-east Delhi area was normal and that "adequate" security forces have been deployed in the affected areas. Meanwhile, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday held a review meeting with Delhi Police officials and officers of the health department, fire service and other agencies.

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