Under new boss SN Shrivastava, cops regaining public confidence in policing
The change of guard in the Delhi Police on Friday has coincided with the return of the normalcy in the riot-affected areas of North-east district in the national Capital. Heavy police presence and effective patrolling have encouraged people to reopen shops selling essential supplies such as milk, medicines, kitchen items, start using private vehicles on the roads.
Newly-appointed Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava made it amply clear to the people that his top priority will be to ensure safety of the people and maintaining law and order. “The police are there for them,” said Shrivastava, who will take over as Delhi Police Commissioner on Sunday.
All the peace committees have been activated and the respectable from both the communities have been roped in to help in establish peace and tranquility in the areas that have seen largescale violence and bloodshed.
The presence of Shrivastava — IPS officer of the 1985 batch — on the ground has helped the rank and file of the beleaguered force to work with purpose and firmness. Shrivastava, who will be taking up the reins of 85,000 Delhi Police force soon from his batchmate and the outgoing police chief Amulya Patnaik, has shifted from the CRPF by the Ministry of Home Affairs to contain the situation.
Meanwhile on Friday, four more victims of the riots succumbed to their injuries raising the death toll to 42. Doctors attending to the injured patients said they are doing their best but some of them are highly critical and the toll may go up in the coming days. More than 250 people have been injured in the communal clashes that broke out across northeast Delhi in areas such as Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chand Bagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura.
Meanwhile, heavy police presence and the announcement by the police on public address systems started to have its affect as more shops and other establishments opened up as the day progressed in some places and more private vehicles were seen on roads. Autos and e-rickshaws also began plying in some areas as people stepped out of their homes to get back to work or to run errands.
As clouds of smoke from burning properties/vehicles cleared on Friday, it revealed the extent of the damage from the worst riots in the city in more than three decades.
While civic workers swept the streets and bylanes off bricks, broken glass and other debris of three days of communal clashes, some shopkeepers sorted through the charred remains of their vandalised and burnt shops. Police and paramilitary personnel maintained strict vigil in view of Friday prayers at mosques.
Local mosques in appealed for peace and harmony in the riot-hit areas. The imams of mosques appealed to people to be united and not fall prey to rumours, urging people to report about suspicious people to the authorities and cooperate with the police.
“In case of any emergency, please call on 112,” the announcement said.
Delhi Police officials also said they were making extra efforts to deal with rumours, and were holding regular flag marches and interactions in the neighbourhoods of affected areas as confidence-building measures.
He said 331 peace meetings have been held in the affected areas over the last two days. Shrivastava was repatriated from the Central Reserve Police Force and appointed as the Special Commissioner (Law and Order) of the Delhi Police earlier this week when the violence started.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Delhi Government has set up nine shelters for the riot-affected people and is distributing food among them.
Addressing the media, Kejriwal said the Government has started distributing Rs 25,000 in cash, as part of compensation, to those whose houses have been burnt during the violence in northeast Delhi earlier this week.
For assistance of the violence-hit people, Kejriwal said the Government has appointed 18 magistrates and four night magistrates.
According to Delhi Fire Services (DFS) data, as many as 79 houses, 52 shops, 2 schools, 3 factories and 4 mosques were burned. The DFS official also noted that 25 calls reported vehicles in flames, and over 500 cars, trucks and busses were gutted. Police said they have received more than 12,000 distress call from Sunday to Thursday.
Outside the GTB Hospital, anxiety escalated as people waited outside the mortuary to receive the bodies of their loved ones. Inside, many people, caught in the communal conflagration that started over the amended citizenship law, battled for live.
Nearly 7,000 paramilitary forces have been deployed in the affected areas since Monday. Hundreds of Delhi Police personnel are also on the ground to maintain peace.
The Union Home Ministry said on Thursday night that no major incident was reported from the northeast district in the past 36 hours. It said prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 would be relaxed for 10 hours in view of improvement in the situation.
Saturday, 29 February 2020 | Shekhar Singh | New Delhi
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