New Delhi: Just as it seemed that the national capital is coming out of its recent communal pangs, reports of arson emanated from north-east Delhi's Bhajanpura area in the evening.
The arson was reported even as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited violence-affected areas and offered a personal guarantee that the government would restore law and order.
With the toll touching 27 and over 200 injured, after four consecutive days of violence, sceptics abound and the trust deficit in the law and order machinery is more than pronounced.
The sense of unease got reinforced with the Delhi High Court issuing a sharp reprimand to the Delhi Police and asked it to register FIRs against BJP leaders for inflammatory speeches, which allegedly ignited the communal flare-up.
In the ensuing chaos – even though the madness of the last few days has diminished – PM Modi made his first public statement, calling for "peace and brotherhood".
Home Minister Amit Shah, in the line of fire for failure to check the spiral, held multiple review meetings but avoided making a public appearance. The Delhi Police still had little to show by way of results: it had filed just 18 FIRs and arrested 106 people in connection with the violence, which they claim is under control.
A furious Delhi High Court urged the police to instead file FIRs against those making hateful and inflammatory speeches. The court's observation came after speeches made by four BJP leaders, including Union Minister Anurag Thakur and local leader Kapil Mishra, were played in open court, prompting Justice S Muralidhar to assert "the court will not allow another 1984 scenario".
Doval, who took a round of Jaffrabad, one of the worst-hit areas, with his security paraphernalia in tow, told reporters: "Inshallah, there will be peace here". Shortly before that, he was confronted by a young girl who made an emotional appeal for help. "I give you my word," he told her.
There was seemingly more action on the ground and in the sky: rooftops were being checked with drones; action was being taken where stones were found; and helplines were activate – all too little and too late.
Demanding that the Army be called in -- something the Home Ministry has so far assiduously refused to do -- Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held outsiders and political elements responsible for the violence.
The Congress party made perfunctory noises and Sonia Gandhi attacked Amit Shah, demanding that the Home Minister take responsibility and resign.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to all private satellite television channels asking them to be cautious about content that may incite violence or promote "anti-national" attitudes.
"It is hereby reiterated that all TV channels are advised to be particularly cautious with regard to any content which is likely to encourage or incite violence, or contains anything against the maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes," said the advisory.