February 28, 2018 3:58:36 am
A day after a second incident of stone-pelting was witnessed in Trilokpuri, residents on Monday claimed the 30-40 men involved in the violence had shouted slogans such as ‘Har Har Mahadev’, ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ and ‘Jai Sri Ram’, as well as derogratory words towards the minority community.
While the temperatures appeared to have calmed down, Zakir (42), a resident of Block 27, claimed: “A group of 30-40 men pelted stones from Block 28 towards our block where we were preparing for a funeral… my neighbour had died in the afternoon. Everyone ran inside their homes, women and children were crying. The stone-pelters kept chanting slogans.” At least five eyewitnesses corroborated this.
On Sunday, Rehmati (45), who was preparing for her son’s engagement, had fallen sick and was rushed to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, where she died. “We had many relatives over from Okhla, Old Delhi and UP for the engagement… when my mother died, they stayed back. I was at the mosque when some boys told me there was stone-pelting and chanting. The police quickly brought the situation under control and escorted us to the kabristaan,” said 17-year-old Mukhtiar.
Residents of both blocks said heavy police deployment prevented the situation from escalating. On February 20, heavy stone-pelting was witnessed in the area over rumours of a Dalit man being beaten to death. “It was a fight between two boys from different communities which has been given a communal colour. Tension has existed between the communities here, but it’s become worse since the 2014 riots,” said a sweet shop owner from Block 20.
Months before the 2014 riots, the Aman Committee, comprising residents from across communities, was formed to ensure peace in the area. Mohd Izrail (35), a member of the committee, who has lived in Trilokpuri for 22 years, said, “We keep an eye on all people who live around us. We try and organise events to maintain harmony. A man from the minority community has organised a Holi Milan, and we are hoping something similar happens on Eid from a family from the other community.”
DCP (East) Ombir Singh was unavailable for comments, but an officer from Mayur Vihar police station said that “the incident was the result of a drunken brawl and allegations of disrupting a funeral were unfounded”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines