• Friday, Apr 10, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:44 am

Indian SC pans police for lack professionalism in handling Delhi clashes

  • Published at 12:52 pm February 26th, 2020
India Police
Riot police walk along a road scattered with stones following clashes between supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law, at Bhajanpura area of New Delhi on February 24, 2020 AFP

At least 22 people have died in days of sectarian riots in New Delhi

The Indian Supreme Court has rebuked police for their lack of professionalism in controlling the violence in the Northeast district of Delhi.

As of now, at least 22 people have died in days of sectarian riots in New Delhi, with 189 people wounded including around 60 by gunshot.

“The police need to take action like they do in England. Things are happening before them,” Justice KM Joseph on Wednesday.

The Hindustan Times said the Indian court rebuked the Delhi Police while hearing a petition on clearing road in Shaheen bagh, which has been blocked for more than two months due to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

“I must say certain things because my loyalty lies to the institution. The problem is lack of professionalism and independence of police. Why do police wait for somebody’s nod to act in accordance with law?” Justice Joseph asked.

He added: “The moment an inflammatory remark is made, police should take action. Not just Delhi, any state for that matter. Police should act as per law.”

The clashes, which coincided with a visit to India by US President Donald Trump, erupted between thousands demonstrating for and against the new citizenship law introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government.

The Reuters reports, India's capital has been the epicentre of unrest against the CAA, which makes it easier for non-Muslims from some neighbouring Muslim-dominated countries to gain Indian citizenship.

Critics say the law is biased against Muslims and undermines India's secular constitution. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied it has any bias against India's more than 180 million Muslims.

Reuters witnesses saw mobs wielding sticks, pipes and stones walking down streets in parts of northeast Delhi on Tuesday, amid incidents of arson, looting and stone-throwing. Clouds of black smoke billowed from a tyre market that had been set alight in the area, as fire trucks rushed to control the blaze.

Shots could be heard in the area and many of the wounded had suffered gunshot injuries, hospital officials said.

However, there were no immediate reports of any fighting on Wednesday.

"The situation is relatively better than yesterday [Tuesday] in the violence hit areas," Atul Garg, director of the Delhi fire department, told Reuters on Wednesday, adding the fire department had stationed additional vehicles in the area and senior officials are camping there.

"There are no rioters on the streets and our vehicles have been able to reach the area," he said.