On a day that three BJP MPs visited the area, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Surendra Jain Tuesday issued a warning to residents of Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi, where a communal flare-up had ended in the vandalism of a temple last week: “Hum Hauz Qazi ko, Ballimaram ko Ayodhya bana sakte hain… Ab Hindu pitega nahi, ye unko samajh lena chahiye (We can turn Hauz Qazi, Ballimaran into Ayodhya… Hindus will not be beaten any longer, they should understand this).”
Jain, the International Joint General Secretary of the VHP, was speaking at a Shobha Yatra in Hauz Qazi. On the night of June 30, the area had seen a parking row escalate into a communal flare-up, leading to the vandalism of a temple. Police have made several arrests since the incident. The issue also figured on the latest cover of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, with the headline ‘#TempleVandalism Perils of Minoritarianism’.
On Tuesday, a kilometre stretch at Hauz Qazi was barricaded from all sides, with vehicles denied entry and shops shut. Hundreds of people waved saffron flags to slogans of Jai Shri Ram and devotional songs being played in the background. The procession also saw seven chariots led by horses, each followed by a band, on which idols were carried and later taken to the temple, where a havan was held.
BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari, Vijay Goel and Hans Raj Hans also visited the area during the day.
DCP (Central) M S Randhawa said 1,500 police personnel had been deployed and CCTVs had been put up to keep the situation under control.
“Ye karyakram antim karyakram nahi hai, ye to shuruaat hai… mahaul theek raha toh koi baat nahin… lekin agar gadbad karoge toh humein phir aana padega, isse dus guna sankhya mein aana padega. (This is not the last programme… this is the first… if the atmosphere is good, then it’s okay, but if anything wrong is done, we will come again — and the crowd will be 10 times of this),” Jain said. “I have heard that Hindus are planning to migrate. I say to them — don’t fear, don’t leave; we will be here, we will fight here and if needed we will die here.”
Goel, the first to arrive in the area, went to the temple to seek blessings. “Chandni Chowk has always been a place of cultural unity and brotherhood, and I request the people to ensure peace,” he said. “But some people, including AAP Minister Imran Hussain, tried to disturb the peace of the area. Police should probe their role and get them punished.”
Hussain has denied his involvement, and has maintained he went there on being called by police.
Delhi BJP president Tiwari and singer-turned-politician Hans arrived after Goel. “We are here to see the temple (idols) that were broken and ensure that peace is maintained. I am happy that people of every community have come together to ensure peace here. I demand that culprits who tried to disturb peace be punished,” Tiwari said. “I am sure people of Delhi will, in the coming days, ask (Arvind) Kejriwal why he disappears when there is a need to instil peace.”
Addressing the crowd, Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti general secretary Jitendra Nand Saraswati said, “One might think this is a programme in Chandni Chowk. No, Hindus across the world are watching it through different social media, and they want to know — are Hindus of Delhi impotent? Delhi’s Hindus are on the roads to tell that this is the last reaction. You did what you did, but don’t force our hand. We will not migrate, and if they will force us, we will ensure they migrate from this country.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines