Fearing clashes between Hindus and Muslims, the district administration imposed curfew in Mewat’s Punhana on Saturday, a day after the body of a Muslim youth was found in the area. Markets remained closed throughout the day.
Wajid (28), the youth found dead, was cremated amid heavy security.
Three companies of the CRPF and hundreds of Haryana Police personnel were deployed in and around Punhana to maintain law and order. “No violence was reported on Saturday. As of now, Wajid’s death does not appear to be linked to Thursday’s clashes. We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” Allah Baksh, Station House Officer of Punhana police station, said.
Wajid, son of a cook at the Punhana police station, was found in an unconscious state outside an ice factory around 7.45 pm on Friday. Police said he had a gunshot wound on his head. He was rushed to the Al-Afia Civil hospital in Mewat, where he succumbed to his injuries.
While no violence was reported on Saturday, police and CRPF personnel carried out a flag march.
“My father spotted Wajid outside our ice factory. We informed police, but now I have been made an accused under Section 302. Police registered an FIR under pressure after a local INLD leader, who is also my relative, threatened to bring the body to the market if an FIR was not registered. But police know we are innocent, so they have not arrested us.
Along with me, two of my brothers, a doctor, a Delhi Police inspector and four Hindu businessman have been made accused. The inspector was in Delhi on election duty. He has been named because his wife is a local leader,” Islamuddin, a local businessman, alleged.
Ramesh Chand Verma, Deputy Commissioner (Mewat), said the curfew was a precautionary measure. Talking to Newsline, Verma said the FIR against nine persons was registered because a complaint had been received. “Naming a person in an FIR does not mean he is guilty. We received a complaint and, therefore, registered the FIR. Our investigation will reveal whether they were involved or not. No panchayat has taken any decision to bar any person from buying goods from Hindu shopkeepers,” he said.
In an official statement, Verma asked residents not to believe in rumours and help maintain peace. “The administration is vigilant towards the protection and safety of people and teams of police personnel and paramilitary forces have been deployed at different places in the city,” he said.
He said curfew was relaxed between 5 pm and 7 pm, so people could buy necessary items from the market. The matter would be solved peacefully at the earliest, he assured.
Trouble started on Thursday in Punhana when INLD workers clashed with BJP volunteers at a polling booth in Nandkheda village. The BJP volunteers, mostly Hindus, alleged they were thrashed by INLD supporters twice. A few Muslim youths were then allegedly thrashed by BJP workers, police said.