Prohibitory orders were issued in northeast Delhi this morning, banning the gathering of large crowds as a preventive measure, after violent clashes erupted in the Seelampur region of east Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. Six people have been arrested and three first information reports (FIRs) have been filed in connection with the violence that broke out yesterday during a protest against the controversial new citizenship law; an additional FIR has been filed for stone-pelting that broke out in the Brij Puri area. Cops have indicated that people with criminal backgrounds had been part of the protest and could have incited violence. Further investigations are ongoing.
According to a senior police officer, the protest began around 1 pm, when school buses were on the roads taking children home. Sources say trouble broke out when a crowd gathering for a protest march from Seelampur to Jafrabad showed up early.
The protesters allegedly targeted buses, including school buses. The police moved in to check the violence but were initially outnumbered; a police picket was also burnt.
Cops resorted to batons and fired tear gas shells as some 2,000 protesters in the densely-populated east Delhi neighbourhood threw stones and set fire to vehicles. In visuals, armed policemen in riot gear could be seen facing a large crowd that was throwing bricks at them.
More than 20 people, including 12 policemen were injured, according to news agency PTI.
A witness said a "peaceful protest against the Citizenship law got out of hand." Others claimed outsiders armed with bottles and bricks got in and sparked the clashes.
By the time the dust settled and police had regained control of the situation, buses and cars had been damaged and roads were strewn with rocks, debris and paper. Small fires on the road sent plumes of smoke into the air. The police said two bikes of traffic cops were burnt.
Seelampur remained tense for hours after the violence, with local elders appealing for peace. Entry and exit gates at six metro stations were shut for a few hours and traffic was restricted. Later in the evening, there were fresh protests in Seelampur but these were quickly brought under control.
The clashes erupted two days after violence broke out during what started as a peaceful protest against the citizenship law by Jamia Millia Islamia students. On Tuesday ten people, most of whom have criminal backgrounds, were arrested and sent to 14-day judicial custody in connection with those clashes; none of those arrested, so far, are students.
With input from PTI