Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal led the wreath-laying ceremony organised in New Delhi on Tuesday, 25 February, to pay tributes to head constable Ratan Lal who lost his life during communal clashes in northeast Delhi.
Ratan Lal (42), a head constable attached to the office of the ACP Gokalpuri, died after he sustained injuries during stone-pelting at Chand Bagh. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik also paid respect to the slain policeman along with a host of other police officials at the Shaheed Smarak Sthal, New Police Lines.
“Ratan Lal’s martyrdom is a huge loss to Delhi Police and the nation in whole. I, on behalf of the Delhi police, want to say that we in this time of grief stand in solidarity with the bereaved family.”Amulya Patnaik, Delhi Police Commissioner
According to police, his body will be now taken to his hometown Sikar in Rajasthan where his last rites will be performed.
Seventeen people, including the policeman, have been killed in the violence over the amended citizenship law that has rocked northeast Delhi.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday wrote to the Lal’s wife, conveying his condolences and said the entire country was with the family of the brave policeman in this hour of grief.
A native of Sikar, Rajasthan, Lal joined the force as constable in 1998.
“Lal was attached to the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gokulpuri,” a senior officer had said.
Amit Shah, Arvind Kejriwal Condole Constable’s Death
In his letter to Lal's wife, Poonam Devi, Shah said he had made a supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, PTI reported.
"Your brave husband was a dedicated policeman who faced tough challenges. As a true soldier he made the supreme sacrifice to serve this country. I pray that God gives you strength to bear this sad and untimely loss," the home minister wrote.
Shah said the entire country is with the family in this hour of grief.
On Monday, shortly after the news broke out, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to condole his death, “The death of the police head constable is very sad. He was also one of us. Please renounce violence. Nobody benefits from this. All problems will only be solved by peace.”
For the second time in less than 24 hours, fresh clashes erupted in several parts of northeast Delhi, including Bhajanpura, Maujpur and Jaffrabad, where protesters for and against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) threw stones at each other, and set vehicles and shop ablaze.
DCP Amit Sharma Injured, Admitted to Hospital
Deputy Commissioner of Police Amit Sharma was also injured during clashes over the CAA in northeast Delhi on Monday, a senior official said.
The 2010-batch IPS officer suffered injuries to his head and hand. He was admitted to Max Hospital, Patparganj, and is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the official said.
The officer’s vehicle was also set afire by protesters, the official added.
Quoting sources, PTI said that Sharma is unconscious and the doctors will conduct a CT scan to ascertain the extent of injuries.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Metro shut five stations on its Pink Line in wake of the violence that erupted in northeast Delhi region.
Protesters allegedly torched at least two houses and a fire tender in the Jaffrabad and Maujpur areas, according to PTI. The police fired tear gas shells and lathi-charged protestors, the report added.
The violence comes at a time when US President Donald Trump is scheduled to land in Delhi this evening, as part of his two-day state visit.
‘Instructed Delhi Police to Maintain Law & Order’
Meanwhile, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal stated, “Instructed Delhi Police and Commissioner of Police to ensure that law and order is maintained in North East Delhi. The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for the maintenance of peace and harmony.”
Earlier, Kejriwal urged Baijal, and Home Minister Amit Shah to “restore law and order and ensure that peace and harmony is maintained.”
“Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations,” added Kejriwal.
Delhi Police too appealed to the people to maintain peace and not to believe in rumours in the wake of violence in parts of northeast Delhi.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC, which bans the assembly of four or more people, have been imposed in those areas of northeast Delhi.
‘Shocked, Saddened’: Gehlot, Lekhi on Lal’s Death
Condemning all acts of violence, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Saddened by the death of Head Constable Ratan Lal, native of Rajasthan in the violence that erupted in Delhi.”
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said that the death of a Delhi Police head constable was a “ploy” to embarrass India during US President Donald Trump's visit and likened it to the massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura in 2000 during the then US President Bill Clinton's trip to the country.
“Shocked to hear the death of HC Sh Ratanlal in a brutal & barbaric manner. This reminds me of massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura during Clinton's visit. Incidents change but anti India forces remain the same. Ploy to embarrass India, Request all to remain calm and maintain peace,” she said, according to PTI.
‘What was His Mistake’: Slain Cop’s Children Ask Delhi CP
Locals along with family members of the slain police head constable held a protest on Tuesday, 26 February, at his native place Sadeensar, demanding martyr status for him.
Ratan Lal, a resident of Fathepur Tihwali village in Rajasthan's Sikar district, had joined the Delhi Police in 1998. He got married to Poonam, a resident of Jaipur, in 2004.
As the news of death reached his house in Amrit Vihar Colony of Burari, Ratan Lal's wife Poonam and his children – Siddhi, 13, Kanak, 10, and Ram, 8 – were devastated. Amid the chaos in Burari, his relatives were informed of his demise.
According to Ratan Lal's acquaintances, he would never get involved in any fight or argument
Lal's younger brother Manoj, who lives in Bangalore, reportedly left for Delhi in evening.
Lal's younger brother Dinesh told IANS, "He was the reader of the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) of Gokulpuri. He had just accompanied the ACP, but the mob surrounded him and killed him."
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)