On Sunday the Delhi Police was swamped with calls about violence breaking out across the city as rumours spread like wildfire. In a statement released, police revealed that 481 calls were received from west Delhi, followed by 310 from Dwarka and 22 from Outer Delhi. But the situation was brought under control with police using twitter to dissipate rumours when complaints were found to be false.
For example, this tweet by the DCP of South East Delhi helped allay fears:
Rumour again, Action again: A call was received that “Sharma market MB Road TKD rumour fail rahi hai ki muslim talwar lekar aa rahe hain shop band karlo.” Found to be rumour/fake, Legal Action is being taken.
We again appeal don’t believe rumours. @DelhiPolice
— DCP South East Delhi (@DCPSEastDelhi) March 2, 2020
On Monday, police nabbed 40 people; 21 from Northwest district, 1 from Rohini district, 18 from South district and one from Southeast district — have also been arrested for rumour-mongering so far.
Two major incidents of arson have now come to light. On February 25, 2020, the home of a BSF jawan was burnt down when a mob attacked the Khas Khajuri Gali. Mohammed Anees’s home was among 35 set on fire by the rampaging mob. His father Mohd Munis, 55, uncle Mohd Ahmed, 59, and 18-year-old cousin Neha Parveen had a narrow escape. On Sunday Anees returned to his burnt down house. He told reporters, “For us, our uniform is our religion. The BSF doesn’t distinguish between communities. We guard the nation at borders. We are united in this crisis. The nation is supporting me.” The BSF have now offered him financial assistance to rebuild his home. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has also announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Anees.
India Today reported that, Deputy Inspector General, Pushpinder Singh Rathore, who accompanied the soldier to his home, said, “We have a team of 25 BSF soldiers from the Engineering department who are working on a war footing with civilian contractors so that the soldier’s home can be restored, and he can return to his home as soon as possible.”
Violence also reached the ruling BJP’s own doorstep on February 25, when the home of BJP’s minority cell’s vice president Akhtar Raza was attacked in Bhagirath Vihar. Raza told News 18, “The crowd raised religious slogans and began setting houses on fire. There are 19 houses belonging to Muslims in the area including mine and three of my relatives… all were burnt down.” 12 of his family members were attacked with stones even as they fled and Raza claimed the mob comprised outsiders.
Iran Foreign Minister condemned the violence in Delhi. Javad Zarif tweeted saying, “Iran condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims. For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail. Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law.”
Meanwhile, Leftinent Governor Anil Baijal visited Shiv Vihar and Karawal Nagar to take stock of the situation and interact with locals. Death toll rose to 47 on Monday afternoon as more bodies were discovered in drains and from the rubble.