The MHA said that as many as 514 “suspects” have been “detained, arrested” for questioning, and more arrests are expected
As many as 70 companies of paramilitary forces - each comprising 100 soldiers - have been deployed in Northeast Delhi to control the situation after the violence in which 38 people have died, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement released late on Thursday night.
The MHA, which supervises and controls the Delhi Police, also said that as many as 514 "suspects" have been detained for questioning and the number will increase as the investigation proceeds.
The statement also said that Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the situation in a meeting on Thursday evening which was attended by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, but made no mention about National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.
Doval had visited the riot-hit areas twice in the last 48 hours and interacted with the people to take stock of the situation.
The home ministry statement further said that only 12 police stations out of the 203 in Delhi - about 4.2 per cent of the geographical area - have been affected by the violence. "No major incident has been reported in the last 36 hours in any of the affected police stations," the statement further added.
It also said that the Home Minister had made an appeal that the "citizens should not believe rumours and fall prey to evil designs of miscreants and groups interested in precipitating communal tensions". The ministry also said that the Delhi Police have started "confidence-building measure" in the form of peace committees, which comprise members of all sections of the society. These committes are meeting the people in the affected areas to maintain calm.
The statement also said that steps are being taken to "clean the streets and repair the damage to public properties in riot-affected areas" and movement of traffic along highways and connecting roads "is returning to normal".
The violence broke out on Sunday and worsened on Monday when groups for and against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act clashed in Jafrabad, Maujpur and other areas of Northeast Delhi. The members of both groups were armed with swords and pistols; the shops and vehicles in the area were torched by the protesters.
A rough estimate by the Delhi Fire Service (DFS), which attended 218 calls related to arson during the riots from Monday to 8 am on Thursday, suggests that more than 500 vehicles, including two-wheelers, were burnt during this period.
DFS data accessed by HT shows that Tuesday was the worst day of the riots and alone witnessed 89 incidents of arson. While Wednesday saw 57 incidents of arson, 23 took place on Monday. Fourteen incidents of arson also took place between midnight and 8 am on Thursday, the data shows.