On a Sunday afternoon in March, as the sun set on a cityscape that had seen some of the worst violence in India’s ongoing unrest, a young man in a pink jacket, jeans and a hoodie sat in the back of a blue BMW.
The car was the Majordomos car and he had been on a mission to make the city a little more peaceful.
For the past six months, he had driven his team of 20 to every corner of the city, meeting with citizens, handing out leaflets, and doing his best to persuade them to leave their homes.
They were not alone.
Since the start of the year, more than 200,000 people have died in clashes with security forces in India.
That is more than three times the number killed in the entire Indian army, and a sharp increase from the year before, when the figure stood at about 20,000.
The number of people killed by security forces has risen every year since 2010, with a jump this year in both numbers and intensity, according to data from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who spoke to The Times.
The violence has hit the poorest sections of the country hard, especially in the capital, New Delhi, which has the highest rate of poor health among the major urban areas in the world.
The numbers are staggering, said Arvind Panagariya, a senior fellow at the Indian Council for Historical Research.
He has studied violence in Delhi for decades.
“There is an explosion of violence in the poorest areas,” Panagarya said.
The city, once a bustling metropolis with its shiny new skyscrapers, has seen a massive surge in violence in recent years, with the police targeting the poorest communities, including the farmers and the Muslims.
In 2017, the Delhi government issued an order to remove more than 20,500 tents from a residential area of the Indian capital to stem the violence, but the orders were quickly followed by the police.
The government had also made efforts to ease tensions with the military by sending in paramilitary units and training for the armed forces.
In February, a group of senior officers from the paramilitary forces raided a house in the eastern part of the capital and found weapons and ammunition, which they used to kill six people.
Police and paramilitary groups are now engaged in a war of attrition in the Indian Capital, with several of them using the threat of violence to crack down on dissent, particularly from the Muslim community.
At the end of May, the paramilitary groups were still targeting the Muslim residents of a nearby neighbourhood, forcing some to flee the area, according in the Times of Indian.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets on residents, and they said they had used teargas to break up a gathering of around 20 protesters who were holding a sit-in.
In the end, they were able to arrest eight people and remove them from the neighbourhood, but in the ensuing days, tensions increased.
After the raid, the city’s police commissioner announced that the police were stepping up their efforts to target the Muslim population, as well as those from the other communities, especially the Dalits, who make up the majority of the population.
“This is the first time in our history that we are targeting Dalits.
It is the only time in the last five years that we have targeted them.
This is the time when we will make a stand on the ground,” Ajay Kumar, the chief of the Delhi Police, said at a press conference.
This has prompted the city police chief to issue a directive, ordering officers to shoot at people who they say are violating the law.
“In the next few days, if you come to our headquarters, the police will be coming to your home and arresting you, in the same way they will arrest us in the streets if you go to the police station,” said Ram Madhav, the local police officer.
In early August, as violence continued to escalate, police and paramilitary units in the city of Chandigarh attacked an elderly woman who was sitting in a roadside shop, killing her.
On Tuesday, the senior police officer in Chandigad arrested a group that he said was behind the attack on the woman.
The incident took place in the outskirts of the northern city, where police said they have been using tear gas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition.
The authorities in Chandagad have blamed a group calling itself the Mahasabha, or Knights of the Hindu Right, for the violence in that area, and for setting fire to the house of a Muslim farmer, causing damage to the area.
The Mahasaba has denied any involvement in the attack and claimed that it is a peaceful protest against the Hindu right, a claim that the state government denies.
The police chief has said that his force will take action against any protesters who come to his office and that anyone who has not left their homes will be arrested and sent to jail.
At least seven