Three men were arrested and a juvenile apprehended for allegedly vandalising a temple in Central Delhi’s Hauz Qazi area Tuesday. One of the arrested men, police said, was earlier arrested in snatching and Arms Act cases. Investigation has revealed that the persons apprehended were protesting along with locals on Sunday. Police apprehended them from their homes Tuesday.
“We have arrested three men and apprehended a minor after we identified them using CCTV footage,” said DCP (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa.
The area has been tense since Sunday night, when an argument over a parking spot spiralled into a communal flare-up.
Around 10.55 pm Sunday, a man identified as Aas Mohammed was parking his two-wheeler outside one Sanjeev Gupta’s home.
“Gupta asked him not to park the scooter, saying he parked his cart there. An argument ensued… According to eyewitnesses, Aas Mohammed was beaten up by some locals, but he ran away and returned with his associates. They then assaulted Gupta,” a senior officer said.
Police had registered three FIRs — including two cross FIRs against Gupta and Mohammed. The third FIR was registered in connection with alleged rioting and vandalism at the temple against unidentified persons.
During questioning, police said, the arrested men said they accompanied other locals to Gupta’s home after a rumour spread that a man had been beaten to death. “They allegedly pelted stones at Gupta’s home and went looking for his associate, who had allegedly assaulted Mohammed. He lives in a street where the temple is situated. Failing to trace him, they allegedly vandalised the temple,” an officer said, adding that they also assaulted a police officer.
In an effort to defuse the tension, members of the local Aman Committee, Jamshed Ali Siddiqui and Tarachand Saxena, held a press conference Tuesday.
“It is unfortunate that such an incident happened. People from both communities have been living together peacefully for decades. Those who vandalised the temple should be punished,” Siddiqui said.
Saxena appreciated the role of police in maintaining peace and said the market will remain open on Wednesday.