Tension in East Delhi over prayer hallhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/tension-in-east-delhi-over-prayer-hall/

Tension in East Delhi over prayer hall

Trouble started when policemen entered a room along the service lane at around 1.30 pm on Sunday.

Tension prevailed in East Delhi’s Mandawali area after police were rushed to the area following a fight between local residents. Two policemen were injured after they were attacked by residents. The police on Monday closed a service lane running parallel to National Highway 24 as a precautionary measure.

Trouble started when policemen entered a room along the service lane at around 1.30 pm on Sunday. “The room had been let out by a Hindu family to a Muslim family. Soon, the room was turned into a regular prayer hall. We got a PCR call that a fight had erupted between the two families over rent,” a police officer said. “The afternoon prayers had just begun when a team of policemen stepped inside the prayer hall, thrashed all the men inside and dragged away four persons. Angry local residents attacked two policemen,” a resident said.

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“Additional police forces were deployed in the area after the incident and 10 people, including women, were booked for rioting, damaging public property and injuring government servants,” Joint Commissioner of Police (East) Sanjay Beniwal said.

A police party arrived and ordered all local residents inside their homes , alleged 25-year-old Khushboo whose husband Jamshed Ali was picked up by the police.

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Police, however, denied having touched the structure or demolished it.

More than two-dozen policemen were deployed in the service lane after the incident and patrolled the Nehru Camp area, which is mostly inhabited by migrant labourers from Bihar.

A shopkeeper said that the homes in the area, including the prayer room, had encroached on government land and had been served notices.

A senior police officer said, “The structure was not a mosque and did not have any of the external appearances (like a dome) of one. It was actually a house which the inmates claimed was a mosque and mounted loudspeakers giving it the semblance of a religious structure.”