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Fri, Feb 28, 2020 4:04

Delhi riot: Death toll rises to 39

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Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has held a meeting with Delhi police senior officers to review the situation in Delhi, following widespread violence which has left at least 39 dead.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has held a meeting with Delhi police senior officers to review the situation in Delhi, following widespread violence which has left at least 39 dead.

The Home Ministry in a statement said considering the improvement in the situation, the ban on large gatherings in northeast Delhi areas hit by violence will be removed for 10 hours today - 4 am to 10 am, and 4 pm to 8 pm, reports NDTV.

"No major incident has been reported in the last 36 hours in... northeast (Delhi)," it said.

Clashes broke out on February 23 between supporters and those who are protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in northeast Delhi. The violence spiraled in the following days. Homes and shops were burnt, people were thrashed by mobs and vehicles were torched in the clashes.

"People should not believe in rumours and fall prey to evil designs of miscreants and groups interested in precipitating communal tension", the Home Ministry said in the statement.

"Only 12 police stations out of the 203 in Delhi or about 4.2% of Delhi were been affected by these riots," it added.

The statement said the East Delhi Municipal Corporation is cleaning up the streets littered with debris and repairing damaged public properties in "riot-affected areas."

The Delhi Police has started holding peace meetings to "improve inter-community harmony," it added.

Forty-eight police cases have been filed and more will be registered in due course. At least 514 people have been detained for questioning, the police said in their latest statement, adding more First Information Reports (FIRs) will be filed as investigation progresses.

The Delhi Police has set up helplines - 22829334 and 22829335 - for round-the-clock assistance, the Home Ministry said.

The Delhi Police has been criticized for being slow to react to the violence and for failing to file FIRs over alleged hate speeches made by leaders like the BJP's Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma.

No FIRs have been filed against BJP leaders for alleged hate speeches. The Delhi High Court on Thursday gave the police four weeks to take a call on this matter and on Wednesday Justice S Muralidhar had demanded an answer within 24 hours.