DELHI COMMUNAL TENSION: DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLE

Delhi/NCR

DELHI COMMUNAL TENSION: DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLE

Last Sunday 30TH June, a fight took place in night on the issue of parking scooter turned into intense communal tension at Lal Kuan near Chawri Bazar in Old Delhi. Hindu and Muslim residents accused each other of stone pelting and violence. The 2 person involved in the incident named as Aas Mohammad and Sanjeev Kumar Gupta. Both person sustained injuries, as did a photojournalist from a Hindi daily who was taking pictures at the spot of incident, said police.Heavy security was there with more than 1,000 Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel equipped with anti-riot gear whole day on Monday. Main road was blocked with the Police barricades at Lal Kuan. Lal Kuan is a popular market for hardware goods in central Delhi. Until the situation brought under control, all the shops are shut down and residents are asked to stay inside and not to come out of their houses.

"On Monday around 12:30 am, a news spread in the area that a 20 year old Muslim man died after being thrashed by a Hindu family. This led people to destroying a temple in the vicinity and disrespecting the idols and led to another group assembling to chase away and attack the group that was destroying the temple," said Delhi Police.The video was captured by a CCTV camera installed near the temple, of a man throwing bricks and stones at the temple. According to Mandeep Singh Randhawa (Deputy commissioner of police), the video footage is being analysed to identify those who were involved in the skirmish.

"Cross-FIRs [first information reports] have been registered at the Hauz Qazi police station in connection with the fight between two families over the parking row. A separate FIR has been registered regarding the temple's vandalism and the violence it triggered," Randhawa said. Residents said that tensions flared up at around 10pm, when Mohammad, 20, was stopped by Gupta, 45, from parking a scooter outside his house near the temple. Gupta's family members and the neighbours of Mohammad offer different versions of the sequence of events. According to Gupta's wife Babita, her husband was standing outside the house when Mohammad parked his scooter there. When her husband objected, Mohammad allegedly abused him and insisted on parking his twowheeler in the spot. "Mohammad left saying he would return to teach my husband a lesson. A few minutes later, 20-25 men carrying sticks barged into our first floor house and began thrashing him. When my three children and I intervened, they assaulted us as well. They did not spare my 80-year-old mother-in-law who is a heart patient," said Babita.

However, according to Mohammad's neighbour, Irshad Ali, Gupta's family members and some other residents thrashed Mohammad and fractured his hand despite him telling them that he would remove his scooter within 10 minutes. "Some people from our area went to intervene when they learnt about the fight. The issue was resolved at the police station itself. But destruction of the temple by some outsiders triggered the communal tension. We want this issue to end at the earliest," said Ali, who is a member of the area's Residents' Welfare Association. Every resident has its own story of the incident happened that day. Abhishek Pandey, son of the temple's priest said that, "Around midnight, a group of men entered our lane and started damaging two wheelers parked there. By the time residents of the lane came out, they noticed that the group had left after vandalising the temple." A software engineer living in the neighbourhood, Mohammad Sadiq, said: "There was a commotion in the area around midnight, which was largely caused by rumours. The attackers were certainly not from our locality."

DCP Randhawa wrote on Twitter that ,"The police called for calm through social media. "After some altercation & scuffle over a parking issue in Hauz Qazi, tension arose b/w two groups of people from different communities.We have taken legal action & all efforts are being made to pacify feelings &bring about amity. People are requested to help in restoring normalcy." On 2nd July, MP Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Union Minister visited the affected area, security was beefed up because of the clashes. The public has been asked to maintain peace and restore normalcy in the area. Dr. Vardhan sentenced that, "those who are behind the destruction of temple will be punished," and described this incident as "unfortunate."

The Union Minister stated that, "It is very unfortunate and painful. The kind of thing done to the temple is unforgivable. I have been told that the police is already in action. Culprits will be arrested soon and punished. I appeal to the people to maintain harmony." According to the sources, today Home Minister Shah ordered Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to be present in Lok Shabha. Amulya Patnaik was reprimanded by HM Shah over the Chawri Bazar incident. Sources has also said that two person has been arrested and a minor has been apprehended for the destruction.

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