On anti-CAA side: Stones, sticks, petrol bombs, pistol
As armed companies of the Delhi Police marched on the Jafrabad main road on Monday afternoon, stone-pelting, vandalism and arson continued unabated in the area where the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters have been on a sit-in protests since Saturday.
By the time the flag march was ended, multiple vehicles were lying burnt, buildings were gutted, and shops and houses ransacked. The main road between the Jafrabad Metro station and Maujpur-Babarpur Metro station was littered with stones, bricks and shattered bottles — the remnants of petrol bombs.
Some anti-CAA protesters contended that the violence was not of their doing, and blamed pro-CAA demonstrators who, they alleged, carried out the violence with police support. But many of them admitted that there was stone-pelting from their side, claiming it was “in retaliation”.
Many from the anti-CAA group who resorted to violence were masked, and carried stones, bricks, rods and sticks. At least one person on this side was seen carrying a pistol, pointing it at a policeman, and later firing at people across the divider on the pro-CAA side. Various videos of him shooting went viral on social media.
Many of the protesters also targeted media personnel, tried snatching their cameras and phones to ensure that no videos or photographs could identify them .
“This doesn’t look like a residential area anymore. Look at the houses and shops. Every building has its glasses broken and shops have their boards and hoardings torn apart by rioters who are in support of the CAA. Parked vehicles were burnt; a three-wheeler gutted. At the end, whose loss is it?” said one anti-CAA protester, refusing to identify himself.
“This vandalism and arson will only be our loss. The supporters of CAA who resorted to violence are not residents of this area. Some from our group also threw stones but a probe will reveal that they, too, were outsiders. Until then, we alone will be held accountable. The residents will face police action; they will be detained and harassed,” contended another anti-CAA protester.
A man in his mid-30s, claiming to be on the anti-CAA side, his face covered with a handkerchief, said: “Not just media, we are asking locals to not record videos. If it is shared on messaging groups, it will reach the police. It will show an incomplete picture and our people will be in trouble,” one of the rioters, his face covered by a handkerchief, said.
By 5pm, groups of anti-CAA protesters gathered under the Jafrabad Metro station and sat on a protest, just ahead of the area occupied by women protesters since Saturday night.
Mohammad Adil, 29, a local resident who was not involved in the violence, said: “We will not move. The rioters will not be allowed to reach our women and daughters. If they come here, we will retaliate. Police must support us since ours is a peaceful protest. There should be strict action against rioters.”
Behind women protesters, companies of women police in anti-riot gear have been deployed. Police said the area will be under heavy deployment until tensions are put to rest.