Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Photo Credit: ANI/Twitter)
Speaking for the first time on alleged involvement of AAP councillor Tahir Hussain in the communal riots in northeast Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said no person from whichever party they belong to should be spared and should be given stringent punishment.
“Any person who is found guilty should be given stringent punishment. If any Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) person is found guilty then that person should be given double the punishment. There should be no politics on the issue of national security,” Kejriwal said while addressing the media.
The death count in the violence mounted to 34, with seven more fatalities have been recorded at three hospitals on Thursday. Till Wednesday night, the total count of casualties had stood at 27, 25 of those at GTB Hospital in Dilshad Garden.
Over 50 patients have been provided treatment at the LNJP Hospital since the violence broke out on Sunday in various parts of northeast Delhi, officials at the hospital said. More than 200 people have been injured in the violence that raged in the areas over the last few days.
Hussain has denied any involvement in the riots or the killing of an Intelligence Bureau staffer whose family accused him of being behind the murder, saying these are "baseless accusations". He called for an impartial probe into the incident and said action should be taken against the guilty.
“It is wrong to target me. I and my family have nothing to do with it,” Hussain said. The AAP leader also demanded strict action against BJP leaders responsible for giving inflammatory speeches.
Ankit Sharma, 26, who worked for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), had gone missing on Tuesday and his body was found in a drain near his home in northeast Delhi's riot-hit Chand Bagh area on Wednesday.
His family members claimed that the local councillor and his associates were behind the killing. Hussain has rejected the allegations.
“I came to know from news reports that I am being blamed for the murder of a man. These are lies and baseless accusations. For our safety, my family and I had moved away from our home on Monday in police presence,” he said.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the party's stand remains clear that strictest punishment must be taken against anyone associated with spreading violence and added that Hussain has given his statement on the matter.
Thirty-four people have been killed and over 200 injured in the communal clashes that broke out in northeast Delhi three days ago after violence between anti and pro Citizenship (Amendment) Act groups spiralled out of control.
Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel. Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh and Shiv Vihar are among the areas mainly affected by the riots.
(With PTI inputs)