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Situation peaceful but tense in Delhi; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visits riot-hit areas


New Delhi, Mar 01: A week after deadly communal violence erupted in northeast Delhi, the situation in riots-hit areas remained peaceful but tense on Sunday, though there was movement of more people and vehicles on main roads amid a heavy police deployment.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

'The situation is under control now. There is adequate force deployed in all areas of northeast district. We are holding talks with locals and trying to rebuild confidence,' a senior police official said.

No untoward incident has been reported from the northeast district over the past three days, he said, adding police are urging residents to not pay attention to rumours and report them to authorities.

Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited some of the riots-hit areas, including Brahmapuri, and consoled the people disturbed by the worst violence in three decades in Delhi.

'It is so disturbing to see that so many people are badly affected. We have to relieve them of trauma and bring their lives back on track. Everyone should come together to do this,' he told reporters.

'We should learn from these people who saved others, who have stood for humanity. And we should sideline and punish the anti-social elements,' he added.

The violence in Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar, Bhajan Pura, Yamuna Vihar and Mustafabad areas of northeast Delhi claimed at least 42 lives and left over 200 injured.

A large number of properties were damaged. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.

Even days after the violence, there was an eerie silence in the streets that once used to be teeming with people and hawkers. In Shiv Vihar, among the worst hit areas, the lanes were deserted and almost all the houses locked. In Mustafabad, people were wary of stepping out of their homes in narrow bylanes.

'Though there is police presence, tension is lingering. We celebrated Eid, Holi, Diwali together. I have never faced such a situation in my life. There is grief, mistrust, disbelief. Those who indulged in violence did not belong to the area, they came from outside,' said Mohammad Yunus, 45.

Yunus, who owns a garment store in Shiv Vihar, said he was saved by his Hindu neighbours during the violence and they tore the shop name-board outside to save the business from rioters.

Acting Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava visited DCP Amit Sharma, undergoing treatment at a hospital in Patparganj after suffering serious injuries during the violence in Gokulpuri on February 24. A 2010-batch IPS officer, Sharma has undergone brain surgery.

Soon after taking charge as police chief on Saturday, Shrivastava said his priority is to restore peace and ensure communal harmony in the national capital. Police have started a massive outreach programme and senior officers have been meeting with people to build confidence among them.

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