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Three more bodies found in violence-hit part of Delhi, overall deaths 46


New Delhi, Mar 01: A week after deadly communal violence erupted in northeast Delhi, the situation in affected areas was peaceful but tense on Sunday as three more bodies were fished out from drains in Gokalpuri and Shiv Vihar and heavy police deployment continued.

File photo

In parts of northeast Delhi, people complained of cash crunch as several bank branches and ATMs have remained closed in the aftermath of the riots.

The Delhi Police said it has registered 254 FIRs and arrested or detained 903 persons in connection with the violence so far. Forty-one of the cases were registered under the Arms Act.

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

Three bodies were fished out from two drains in Gokalpuri on Sunday while one body was pulled out out from a drain in Shiv Vihar, police said. However, it is yet to be ascertained if they are linked to the riots and authorities have not updated the death toll figure.

Several bodies of riot victims have been found in drains since Wednesday including of IB staffer Ankit Sharma after violence ebbed.

Panic spread across several parts of west Delhi on Sunday evening following false rumours of violence. Delhi Metro briefly shut down entry and exits of seven stations without giving any reason. However, Delhi Police swiftly denied any incident and appealed to all to remain calm.

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

'It is very 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.

Schools are closed in Northeast district till March 7.

On Sunday, the CBSE said any further delay in conducting board exams in violence-affected areas may hamper chances of students in admission to professional courses like medical and engineering, but added that it is ready to conduct fresh exams for students who will not be able to appear as per schedule.

Aadil Khan, a resident of Jafradbad, said that several bank branches and ATMs located at B Block of Yamuna Vihar, were closed since the deadly communal violence erupted on February 23.

Mohammad Alam, 27, a mobile recharge shop owner in Shiv Vihar --- one of worst violence-affected areas --- said his shop remained shut for the last four days.

'The business has been hit badly due to closure of banks and ATMs. People don't have cash,' Alam told PTI.

Kailash Kumar, who lives in Mustafabad, said his family would leave the city for their hometown in Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur, but he could not draw cash for travel.

Kumar said that apart from banks and ATMs, most of grocery shops remained shut due to which there is shortage of essential commodities.

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 have been damaged. Frenzied mobs had torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.

Police said they are conducting flag marches in violence-affected areas. However, there was an eerie silence in the narrow bylanes that were teeming with people and hawkers barely a week back.

In Shiv Vihar, among the worst hit areas, the roads were deserted and almost all the houses locked. In Mustafabad, people were wary of stepping out of their homes.

'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's name-board to protect the business from rioters.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the AAP government is putting in best efforts to provide relief to the people affected by the riots.

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