After almost 70 people were detained by police in connection with the initial rioting and violence in Atali village, a total of
10 persons were arrested on Sunday while the rest were released.
Subhash Yadav, Commissioner of Police, said, “A total of 10 individuals from the village have been arrested. We had detained a number of people whose names had been mentioned in the complaint. Then, a process of verification followed after which the arrests were made.”
Thirty-five residents of the village, who had been detained, were released after police investigation found no evidence against them. “A number of people who were accused and then detained by us were found to be relatives of people who lived in the village. Some of them weren’t even at the village when the violence broke out. Hence we released them,” a senior police officer said.
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Villagers said protests broke out on Saturday at Atali when the police were rounding up the accused. “The villagers wanted to hold a panchayat after people were rounded up from the village. But we didn’t let them since we feared further violence,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, most of the Muslim community members from the village have left their homes and are living in the city area of Ballabhgarh. “We want to go home. But now, there isn’t any guarantee of our safety. Things are still very tense. But we can’t just abandon the homes where our ancestors have lived for years,” Mohammad Ehsaan, a resident, said.
Tension continued to prevail in Atali village with the Hindus alleging that police were “biased”. “Our complaints and our grievances have not been heard. But those from our community have been unfairly arrested,” Manoj Chauhan, a resident, alleged. The arrests took place over a month after communal violence broke out in the village. Police said a total of 21 FIRs were lodged following two separate episodes of communal violence.
The first incident of violence in the village on May 25 saw almost 2,000 heavily-armed men allegedly setting fire to the village’s only mosque, Muslim homes and shops. Fifteen people were injured and 150 Muslims camped at the Ballabhgarh police station until June 3. The second episode of violence took place earlier last week when at least four people were injured during stone-pelting between the two communities.