This week has witnessed intense rioting and violence in the National Capital even as anti CAA protests and roadblocks seem to have triggered tensions in Northeast Delhi, which bore the brunt of violent clashes and riots. However, a closer look at the chain of violence and mayhem reveals that it was not spontaneous, but well planned and organised. It is clear that the Delhi Police and the intelligence agencies somehow failed to guage the level of threats in the area and read the ominous signs of impending violence.
While Monday and Tuesday witnessed intense violence, the preparations had started on Sunday itself in the context of US President Donald Trump’s India visit. Sabotaging his India visit and grabbing headlines in the global media was one of their political goals.
Replicating the detestable Shaheen Bagh model, the anti-CAA hooligans had blocked Road no. 66 in Jaffrabad and had also pelted stones at a pro-CAA rally carried out by Kapil Mishra in Maujpur on Sunday- the same area that witnessed intense violence and the death of a Delhi Police Head Constable on Monday
After Jafrabad, protestors have blocked roads in Khureji. This was done after Bharat Bandh call by Bheem Army. pic.twitter.com/h6ESJXTuft
— Sapna Madan ❄️Care4Animals❄️ (@sapnamadan) February 23, 2020
Picture from Jaffrabad metro station, Pink Line of Delhi metro. This is another Shaheen Bagh in making. This and the pamphlets being distributed to ask people to boycott census are a serious threat to law and order. Govt must act in the larger public interest. pic.twitter.com/80IYx46sLJ
— Monica (@TrulyMonica) February 23, 2020
Shaheen Bagh again.
Stage set at Jafrabad metro station near Seelampur in Delhi.
Metro & roads are blocked.
Police won't intervene or apply force. Why will they?
It's time to smell the coffee.
You either support such disruptive movements or you don't.pic.twitter.com/IBWKcAHylC
— Soumyadipta (@Soumyadipta) February 23, 2020
Delhi Police and other concerned authorities seem to have clearly underestimated the gravity of the situation which had started to deteriorate from Sunday itself.
Am overnight protest near Jaffrabad Metro Station on Sunday by 500 women had led to Delhi Metro closing the entry and exit gates of the metro station. The precautionary measure clearly did not match the gravity of the situation.
Delhi Metro stations are located rather closely. Closing a single metro station wouldn’t work, when a plethora of Metro Stations in broadly the same region remain operative.
The route of the Metro line going towards Maujpur-Baburpur and Jaffrabad was curtailed later when violence had already taken grip of the region. Had the metro line been shut down by Delhi Police and DMRC on Sunday itself, inflow of massive crowds into the affected areas could have been prevented.
Entry & exit of Jaffrabad have been closed. Trains will not be halting at this station.
— Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (@OfficialDMRC) February 23, 2020
Now, there are also visuals of orange crates (that were initially passed off as saffron flags to further incite riots) being used to carry stones and bricks to be hurled at police personnel and civilians.
Such detailed preparation went into rioting and violent clashes, but the Delhi Police and intelligence agencies seem to have been clueless about it.
Of Saffron flags and wallets pic.twitter.com/EhU5Z241Jy
— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) February 24, 2020
Then there are also reports of acid being thrown at Paramilitary jawans, something that shows the level of impunity with which the rioters and arsonists went on a rampage.
Acid thrown on paramilitary forces by these “peaceful” protestors. pic.twitter.com/20h8YwAuPI
— Ishita Yadav (@IshitaYadav) February 25, 2020
While the rioters were brutal and ruthless, the Delhi Police itself seems to have been at mercy of pro-CAA supporters. A video of pro CAA supporters rescuing an injured Delhi Police personnel has also gone viral. The question that arises is what made the police look for help when it should have actually been cracking down on rioters.
— Chayan Chatterjee (@Satyanewshi) February 25, 2020
Not just this, even the visuals of a rioter, identified a Shahrukh who had fired 8 rounds at the Delhi Police are equally disturbing. A police official armed with a baton taking on this goon brandishing a gun presents a pathetic, disturbing impression of the police preparations.
Ratan Lal was killed by a bullet
Doctors are reporting bullet injuries
Shahrukh fired 8 rounds
Time for Delhi Police to get more weapons, lathis won’t do
The dimensions of conflict have changed
This defining image clearly displays what the police encountered yesterday pic.twitter.com/P7Z45g1JT8
— Advaita Kala / अद्वैता काला (@AdvaitaKala) February 25, 2020
Shahrukh, the man identified in red t-shirt who opened fire at police during violence in North East Delhi yesterday, has been arrested by Police.#Bhajanpura #DelhiViolence #DelhiCAAClashes #DelhiBurning pic.twitter.com/SgCAdkDJ8R
— Akshay Dongre (@akshaydongre4) February 25, 2020
The police personnel on ground zero were badly, insufficiently equipped. The situation in Northeast Delhi was no less than a mayhem and it didn’t really make any sense to send jawans with batons to take on people brandishing guns, mobs pelting stones in a flurry and arsonists burning entire settlements.
A Delhi Police Head Constable, Ratan Lal lost his life and now it has been revealed that he had succumbed to bullet injuries. It is a clear failure that the Delhi Police and intelligence agencies had no idea that deadly firearms would be used during the protests. This is why the Police and Paramilitary jawans seem to have been sent in without enough preparation. The consequence is that dozens of Delhi Police personnel have got injured in the deadly riots.
Delhi Police is now taking some stringent measures. The protest sites which seem to have been abetting violence in the first place have been cleared now. But 18 lives have already been lost by now. Delhi Police itself has suffered great damage. The question that arises is what was stopping the police for so long?
Jaffrabad Metro protest area totally cleared . Time to enforce law in its entire spirit . Rioters need to be taught a lesson or two of Indian laws . #PlannedDelhiRiots
— B L Santhosh (@blsanthosh) February 25, 2020
Either the Delhi Police didn’t have enough intelligence inputs to give to the higher ups or the higher ups didn’t issue strict orders straightaway. Had the Delhi Police come with inputs that matched the scale and intensity of violence, it is highly unlikely that the higher ups wouldn’t have taken immediate precautions.