Trilokpuri clashes: Hotbed of discontent since ’84 riots

Friday’s clash is also the biggest in the area in the last 30 years.

Written by Shalini Narayan | New Delhi | Updated: October 26, 2014 10:43 am
Residents said this is the first time since the 1984 riots that they have seen such clashes. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna) Residents said this is the first time since the 1984 riots that they have seen such clashes. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

This is not the first time that Trilokpuri has been at the epicentre of communal violence. Thirty years ago, during the 1984 massacre, 350 Sikhs were mercilessly slaughtered here. Trilokpuri never quite recovered from it. The area has been reeling under tension since then, with locals claiming that clashes during festivities have become a recurrent feature over the years.

On November 1, 1984, a mob came ripping through the neighbourhood of Block 32 in Trilokpuri. Nearly 350 Sikhs were dragged out their homes and killed; some burnt alive, others beaten to death.

As violence broke out here again on Friday, a day after Diwali, locals residents claim that such an incident was only waiting to happen. Friday’s clash is also the biggest in the area in the last 30 years.

Locals said the clashes so far have been restricted to bylanes and have never spread beyond.

“This is the first time after the 1984 riots that an issue has flared up to this degree. Local fights over parking and use of speakers during namaaz and jagrans are daily affairs,” a resident said.

“Such violence doesn’t require the excuse of a trigger. On August 15, there was a clash between two groups over kite-flying. Earlier this month, during Eid, there was a clash. Every time there is a festival, it is an excuse for people to instigate a clash,” Javed, a local resident said.

Sunil Kumar Vaid, former MLA of Trilokpuri, said, “The area has been declared a sensitive zone by the Election Commission and Delhi Police. I have spoken out against the issue of bootlegging and gambling in the area. As a result, I got shot at and the Delhi Police assigned a personal security officer to me. The area requires maintenance of proper law and order.”

“The area is predominantly a Dalit constituency. Muslims occupy about 20 per cent of the area. They are mostly concentrated in and around Block 20. During the Kanwariya procession, the Hindus go through the Muslim-dominated areas. This triggers an issue with Muslims protesting against the noisy procession. During Eid, the Hindus ask Muslims not to slaughter goats and this leads to clashes,” a source said.

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