New Delhi: The complete lack of intelligence and anticipation of the communal flare-up in the national Capital played itself out on Tuesday, manifesting in large-scale arson and vandalism that left 9 more persons dead, taking the overnight toll to 13.
The ham handed handling of the mob violence, with little semblance of control, left the administration with no option but to clamp Section 144 in the trouble spots and issue shoot-at-sight orders.
Negligible police presence made the situation worse. Inadequate police presence or worse -- instances of policemen refusing to act -- were noticed. Many SOS calls to the fire department also went unanswered.
"The police personnel could not do anything because they were not getting clear orders from their seniors,’’ lamented CM Arvind Kejriwal before his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.
The inertia on the part of the police was being likened by experts to that witnessed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Troops were requisitioned from outside Delhi but sat fidgeting in buses with no one to steer them through the flashpoints. The extent and intensity of the violence can be gauged from the fact that at least 70 of those injured had gunshot wounds. Shops were burnt and mobs armed with sticks and rods were out on streets in Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh and Karawal Nagar in northeast Delhi.
What started as clashes between the rival CAA groups had clearly acquitted communal overtones with unconfirmed reports of places of worship being vandalised trickling in.
Acid has reportedly been thrown at paramilitary forces in Karawal Nagar where the personnel were deployed to control the situation. The Union Home Ministry ruled out calling the army, saying adequate central forces and police were on the ground.
Amit Shah chaired an all-party meeting on Tuesday on the prevailing law and order situation amid palpable fear that the communal contagion may spread to other parts of the Capital.
Prohibitory orders have been declared in seven areas even as violence was being reported from fresh areas. Schools in North East Delhi will remain closed on Wednesday as well and CBSE has been asked to cancel examinations.
In the madness, the government added to the reigning confusion by appointing a special police commissioner (law and order). He has been repatriated from CRPF.
There is danger of the violence fanning out and the district administration in Ghaziabad has sealed three borders adjoining North East Delhi. Traffic movement from Shahdara towards Apsara border has been halted.
A high alert has been sounded in Lucknow as well. Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia took to Twitter and appealed citizens to desist from spreading unconfirmed information.
Meanwhile, mortal remains of Delhi Police Head Constable Ratan Lal were brought to his residence in Burari area. He lost his life during clashes over Citizenship Amendment Act in North East Delhi on Monday.