Scenes from last October’s clashes are fresh in the minds of Trilokpuri’s residents. Peace, they say, seems to be gone for good because every tiff now takes a communal turn and violence is always round the corner.
On Sunday, the day after clashes broke out here over a supposed parking dispute, everyone went about their usual business, under the watch of lathi-wielding policemen huddled in groups of five to 10 at every chowk. They were there for good reason. “If police had not turned up on time, matters could have turned ugly. Like last time”, Nasreen Khatoon, a resident of Block 27, said.
On Saturday night, police responded within 12 minutes of violence being reported, with troops deployed from at least four neighbouring stations — Mayur Vihar, New Ashok Nagar, Pandav Nagar and Madhu Vihar — in Blocks 27 and 26. Locals, police said, had informed them that residents of the Muslim-dominated Block 27 and the Hindu-dominated Block 26 had begun pelting brick pieces and beer bottles at each other. Soon, residents from the adjacent Blocks 22 and 28 came out on to the streets and joined in. Block 26 and 27 were the main scene of communal clashes in October.”
“We still don’t know what sparked off the fight and stone-pelting last night. We can’t say if it was a fight over parking space or another drunken brawl. We do not know who did what. All we heard and saw was youths had spilled out of their homes armed with liquor bottles and bricks and were shouting and throwing them at each other,” Uma, a resident of Block 26 said.
Police said they took a while to find out what had actually sparked the sudden unrest on Saturday night. “Youths here often get into drunken brawls and if they get too violent, what may have not started as a communal issue could easily become one,” a senior police officer said.
Ali Raza, a youth living in Block 27, recounted how beer bottles began raining from Block 26. “Unidentified persons began hurling bottles towards our Block and all our vehicles parked here were in danger of getting damaged. So we began removing our vehicles.”
A resident said on condition of anonymity, “Most of the unemployed youth here only loiter by day and consume liquor and narcotics by night. They switch off the main lines which power the lights in the community parks and common grounds at night. They then buy liquor from the hooch shop in the locality and begin drinking in the park. And they often fight.”
She said most of them throw empty bottles into the block adjoining theirs to avoid detection. But this, like it did yesterday, can lead to a fight. And if it is between a Hindu and a Muslim dominated block, then the matter becomes communal.
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