At least 10 people have been injured in clashes over two days that broke out between Valmikis and Muslims in northwest Delhi’s Bharat Nagar, following allegations of a girl being molested by a Muslim boy. Despite police presence, a mob attempted to set afire a house and hurled stones at the local mosque.
Though extra security personnel were deployed after a skirmish Saturday night, fresh clashes erupted Sunday night as residents hurled stones, bricks and resorted to physical violence. While no violence was reported till Monday evening, Section 144 (prevention of unlawful assembly) has been imposed in Bharat Nagar’s Sangam Park locality. Senior police officers, including JCP Sanjay Singh and DCP Vijay Singh have been patrolling the area.
According to police, the clashes erupted Saturday night after a Muslim youth was beaten up. Police sources said locals alleged he had molested a Hindu girl inside her house. The clashes, which occurred despite police presence, left at least 10 injured from both communities. Ten companies of security forces have been deployed to ensure peace.
DCP Vijay Singh said a case of molestation was registered and the youth, Abid (18), arrested. Following the clashes, eight persons were arrested for rioting. “Section 144 has been imposed and the situation is under control,” said Singh. Police have arrested nine persons in all and lodged three FIRs at Bharat Nagar Police station in the past two days.
Sangam Park residents, however, alleged it was a fight between two families which was given a communal angle by outsiders. It began Saturday evening when Abid, a Delhi University student, was allegedly caught inside the house of a girl who lived in his neighbourhood. The boy’s family said he had gone to deliver momos to the girl and her relative, who are known to them.
Mushtaq, Abid’s brother-in-law, said, “He had gone to deliver the momos to her and her bhabhi. But the girl’s brothers beat him up and took him to the local police chowki (Sangam Park located in Block B).”
“We rushed to the chowki but they kept beating him in front of the police. We requested police to stop them but nothing was done. He was then taken into custody,” said Mushtaq.
“A few minutes later at about 8 pm, a group of Hindu youth carrying sticks gathered outside the chowki… They suddenly ran towards us and stared to pelt stones,” said Mohammad Riyaz, who works in a shop nearby.
Shops were shut immediately as clashes intensified between the groups for at least two hours till police personnel reached the area.
“Both sides threw stones and glass bottles at each other. It only stopped when police reached,” added Riyaz.
The area remained tense on Sunday as well when over 500 people from both communities gathered at a park near the chowki at 4 pm.
“It was complete negligence on the part of police as they had asked people to gather at the park for a peace meeting,” said 65-year-old Abdul Khalid, who runs a general store in Block B.