Hauz Qazi incident: A fickle normalcy undone by Hindutva elements
The market had opened on Tuesday morning when a group of Hindutva activists, mostly outsiders, came shouting provocative slogans and the tension returned
As life tried to limp back to its routine on Tuesday amid heavy police presence, a day after a communal clash at Lal Kuan under Hauz Qazi police station, a bike rally and sloganeering by Hindutva elements again brought the things to square one.
The market had opened on Tuesday morning with the hope that the night of bad blood was over, when around noon a group of Hindutva elements, mostly outsiders, came shouting provocative slogans from the side of Chawri Bazaar metro station and passed from the Muslim populated stretch of Lal Kuan.
The tension returned as the shops downed their shutters and Muslims, too, again gathered on the street. The Hindus have not put off the white shamiana they have put outside Shankar Gali.
“Why were these people allowed to come all way from0Chawri Bazaar upto here? Why didn’t the police stop them?” Mohammed Raees, a shopkeeper at Lal Kuan demanded to know.
“We had opened our shops but then this happened,” he added.
A few hours later, Sunil Sharma, the SHO of Hauz Qazi police station came asking the people to open their shops and resume their daily life instead of gathering on the street.
To this, a man retorted amongst his group: “Should be open our shops to be looted (by the mob)? Where is the guarantee that those who had come shouting slogans would not come back again and loot or damage our shops?”
“Why are they (police) asking us to disperse and not them. They have been there since yesterday morning,” said Chand, a resident of Gali Qasimjan.
Asked why he had come here, a Bajrang Dal activist who claimed to have arrived from Rajasthan, shouted back that he had come for the sake of ‘Bhagwan Ram’.
“Don’t ask whether we belong to Bajrang Dal or any other organization. We are all Hindus and Bhagwan Ram is ours. We have come for his sake. I don’t know if Ram is yours or not,” he retorted.
Asked as to what their immediate demand was, he said: “Our demand is that police must take action against the perpetrators.”
A few others also questioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s silence on the issue, alleging that he was a “mullahs’ man” and had no sympathy for the Hindus.
The Muslims have been insiting that nobody had attacked the temple and that a few glasses of the temple had broken during the stone pelting at the men who had beaten up Aas Mohammed.
The trouble had started on Sunday night around 10.30 pm when a teenager Aas Mohammed parked his bike outside Gali Chabuk Sawar. To this, Sanjiv who sells chow mein there, objected and told the boy to remove his bike. An argument ensued between the two and they came to blows. A few men sitting across the road joined in and badly thrashed Aas Mohammed, whose hand was fractured.
The incident soon took a communal colour when a rumour spread that the boy had been forced to chant ‘jai shri Ram’ by the assaulters. Soon the crowds gathered and a clash erupted.
“Why would a temple be targeted? We suspect some mischief mongers in that gali themselves broke the idols etc. But in any case, the police and a few from the Muslim community went there and restored the idols and the broken glass. Now some people are dragging on the issue for some vested interests, and many of them are outsiders,” said Ubaid Khan, a local.
Meanwhile, the police have picked up a few persons in connection with disrupting the law and order.
One boy, Zubair, who lives in Katra Dina Beg at Lal Kuan, was picked up by the police in the wee hours on Tuesday.
“My brother was picked up around 5.30 a.m. this morning. When we went to the Hauz Qazi police station, they said he was not there and we were asked to go to Kamla Market police station. There, nobody had any information. At last, a phone came and the police asked us to reach Tis Hazari court, saying Zubair would be produced there,” said his brother.
Meanwhile, as the tension loomed, people got the gates to their galis repaired to ensure their safety in case of any eventuality.