Vikas Kumar is dead. Or at least that’s what the rumour was, fuelling 30 minutes of stone pelting between two communities in Trilokpuri on Tuesday night. As multiple shops were looted and stones and bricks rained down, police rushed to the spot, and dozens were detained. Lying on his bed with multiple fractures and a broken nose, Kumar said, “People have been visiting my house thinking they will attend my funeral. The rumour was spread by miscreants… I still have life left in me.”
On Tuesday night, tensions had simmered in Trilokpuri’s block 27 when people from two communities clashed over rumours that Kumar (26) had succumbed to injuries inflicted by people, who beat him with wooden sticks on Friday. The rumours spread through local pan kiosks and tea stalls, and soon enough, more than 200 people mobilised and resorted to stone pelting.
According to police, two weeks ago, a vegetable vendor had a fight with a group of people after a motorcycle brushed past his vegetable stall. Police are probing if Kumar was part of the group. The vegetable vendor’s mother, Nargis, said, “My son was beaten up, he had blood coming out of his ear.” On Friday, Kumar and his relative Jatin went to a tailor shop to collect two suits for a relative’s wedding. As the two men waited, they were confronted by three men on a scooter. One of them, police said, was the vegetable vendor. “He kept saying I am ‘the one who did it’. I did not understand what they meant. Then one of them took out his phone and showed a photograph of me, and asked me if I was the same person. I said yes,” Kumar said.
That’s when the men grabbed Kumar’s collar and started assaulting him, he alleged. They called “half a dozen men”, who came with wooden sticks and joined the assault, even as Jatin hid at the tailor shop and called his family. Kumar’s aunt Shakuntla later found him lying unconscious and bloodied. He was taken to a hospital, with police filing a case under IPC sections 323, 341 and 34 and arresting two people on the basis of CCTV footage.
“Moreover, we detained and eventually let go several people in connection with the stone-pelting,” said DCP (East) Ombir Singh Bishnoi. As Kumar recovers, his family is in a sombre mood. “We did not even play music. None of the women in our family visited the beauty parlour. The bride did not want to go to her husband’s house,” said Kumar’s sister Ritu.