At least two mosques, one barely 100 metres away from a police station, were gutted during clashes between Hindus and Muslims following a road accident in Tauru, 35 km from Gurgaon, in Mewat Sunday. At least 15 people, including a DSP, were injured in the clashes.
Curfew has been clamped in the area where paramilitary and police personnel have been deployed in strength. Flag marches were staged Monday as shops downed shutters and streets wore a deserted look.
The clashes broke out after 20-year-old Danveer, returning home on a motorcycle, was knocked down by a dumper around 7.30 am Sunday. Angry residents gathered and assaulted the dumper driver Raees, 35, and helper Mubarak, 18. But word spread that the mob had killed the duo.
Muslims from adjoining villages landed in Tauru, allegedly carrying weapons. Eyewitnesses claimed that some in the large crowd opened fire and looted shops near the bus stand.
Kiran Devi, whose 12-year old son was hit by a bullet, said, “Rohit had gone out to buy groceries when he was hit by a bullet in the abdomen. He is undergoing treatment at Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon.”
Three others, also seriously injured, are admitted in the same hospital.
Pointing towards the broken windows of the SBI branch, customer executive Vishal Sharma said many in the mob were carrying lathis. “They broke in and took away everything that they could. The Allahabad Bank branch next to ours was also targeted.”
Anil Taneja, whose mobile shop was allegedly looted, said, “When we saw the mob approaching, we fled. I lost goods worth Rs 3.5 lakh. They smashed all counters and windows.”
It is alleged that the mob stoned a Shiva temple on Bawla road. Minutes later, two mosques — Jama Masjid hardly 100 metres from the police station, and Qureshiya mosque a little further — were set ablaze.
Mohammad Abdullah, Imam of Jama Masjid,said, “I saw groups of men gather in the locality and thought it safe to leave the place. So, I locked the mosque and went home. At night, a police team informed me that the mosque had been burnt and escorted me there.”
But Raj Kumar Mittal, local councillor and president of Tauru Traders Union, denied that Hindus were behind the destruction of the mosques and a shop.
“The shop was burnt due to a short circuit but the owner blamed it on us. In the case of Jama Masjid, a youth smoking near the mosque threw a cigarette on a straw mat, which caught fire and burnt the mosque,” Mittal claimed. Blaming politicians for “inciting the Muslims”, he demanded a CBI probe into the riots.
Around 80 cases have been filed against members of both communities.
Haryana DGP Srinivas Vashisht said, “One company of RAF, two of CRPF and three of BSF are already deployed in Tauru. In addition to paramilitary, about 1,000 Haryana Police personnel are also deployed here. The situation is under control. We have decided to relax the curfew for three hours in the evening.”