Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Anuj Kumar, who got injured in recent clashes in northeast Delhi’s Gokulpuri, said that the police force was heavily outnumbered as the place turned into a battlefield with frenzied mobs torching houses, shops, vehicles and hurling stones.
The ACP, who was discharged from the hospital two days ago, said, “We were instructed that the road linking Signature Bridge with the border of Ghaziabad should not remain blocked. But slowly and steadily the crowd started getting bigger and included both men and women. They were around 20,000- 25,000, while we were only 200. I don’t know whether they had planned to block the road as they did previously.”
“We spoke to them peacefully and asked them to remain confined to the service road instead of the main road. Till then rumours had started spreading that some women and children had lost their lives in a police shootout. There was construction underway near the bridge, so stones and bricks were lying there. The protestors started pelting stones suddenly and we were injured, including the DCP who was bleeding severely,” he added.
The clashes took place at the same time when US President Donald Trump was on a two-day maiden visit to India.
The ACP further stated that the police had fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd but the effort was futile as the distance between the protestors and the security was large.
“We were standing on two opposite ends of the road. We didn”t want to open fire as many women took part in the protest. But we were heavily outnumbered,” Anuj Kumar said.
“My aim then was to first rescue the DCP because he was bleeding heavily. But we also didn’t want to hurt any protestor,” he stressed.
Rattan Lal, a head constable attached to the office of the ACP Gokalpuri, died of injuries he sustained during stone pelting at Gokalpuri.
Three other civilians succumbed to injuries in the clashes, a Delhi government official said, adding 50 people with injuries had come to the hospital for treatment.
At least 11 police personnel, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara, Amit Sharma and Anuj Kumar himself were injured while trying to quell the protests.
The clashes between pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters took place at various places in the North-East District of Delhi on Monday.
At least 42 people, including a police head constable, have died while around 200 people have been injured in the violence. Two Special Investigative Teams (SITs) have been constituted under Crime Branch, Delhi Police to probe the violence.