New Delhi: While a mob of over 200 Muslims had reportedly vandalised a Hindu temple in the capital’s Hauz Qazi neighbourhood in the night of 30 June, just two suspected miscreants have been arrested and a minor apprehended for allegedly desecrating the idols in the temple in Chawri Bazaar.
The police still maintain, defying video evidence shared widely on social media, that a row over parking a scooter snowballed into a communal flare-up.
A Delhi Police official confirmed the arrests but declined to divulge further details.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad volunteers visited Chawri Bazaar during the day and demanded arrest of those who vandalised the temple. Prayers were held, but outside the temple premises in huge police presence.
VHP’s Delhi unit working president Alok Kumar met Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and demanded the arrest of the culprits.
A team led by Kumar told Patnaik that there could be a “larger design” behind the incident to “change the demography of the area”.
Sanjeev Gupta, who was at the centre of the whole incident, said when Aas Mohammad parked his scooter outside the building, he asked him to remove it as it was blocking a path commonly used by people.
“Thereafter, he, along with other persons, who were drunk, started beating me. In the meantime, I called the police and narrated them the incident. Police took me and Aas Mohammad to the police station where the issue of the scuffle was resolved,” Gupta said.
“I just want those who vandalised the temple to renovate it and help everyone to maintain peace in the locality as it was earlier,” he said.
Rahul Kashyap (26), a local who works at a private company, said, “We want police to take action against people who vandalised the temple and ask them to renovate it as soon as possible.”
“The idols in the temple have been vandalised and we cannot worship there until the new idols are placed,” said Aniket Mehra (26), who has a business of catering.
Chawri Bazaar residents’ ‘aman ki asha‘
Late in the evening, people from the two communities, in the presence of police, held discussions on ways to defuse the tension, which continued for the second day over the incident that happened in Chawri Bazaar on Sunday night.
Jamshed Siddiqui, who was present in the meeting, said, “We have spoken to each other on the issue and decided that an ‘aman committee’ (peace committee) would bear the expenses to renovate the vandalised temple. We want peace in Chawri Bazaar as it was earlier. We condemn the incident and the culprits, who have vandalised the temple, must be punished.”
Bittoo, who was also present during the talks, said, “People from both the communities are living here happily for many decades. The market will be opened on Wednesday and the locals will bring back peace with the help of each other.”
“In the meeting, it has been decided that the culprits must be punished. Everybody will live peacefully and the market will be opened from Wednesday,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa.
Police personnel and paramilitary forces continue to be present in the Hauz Qazi area of Chawri Bazaar.
Mufti Mukarram Ahmad, Shahi Imam of Fateh Puri Masjid condemned the incident. “The act is condemnable and no one has the right to vandalise or hurt the religious sentiment of any person. The RWA of Lal Kuan area would bear the expense of the temple and I appeal to the locals to help each other in maintaining peace. Please do not believe in the rumours,” said the Shahi Imam.
Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, the local MP, also visited the spot and reviewed the security situation. He said police will take necessary actions.
संसद में व्यस्तता के कारण कल क्षेत्र का दौरा नहीं कर सका लेकिन पल-पल की जानकारी लेता रहा। आज भी संसद में मेरे 2 बिल लगे हुए हैं, इसलिए सुबह आकर पूरे मामले की विस्तृत जानकारी ली। पूरा विश्वास है कि पुलिस अपेक्षित कार्रवाई करने में कोताही नहीं बरतेगी। @BJP4Delhi @DelhiPolice pic.twitter.com/S3qhfM7cZq
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) July 2, 2019
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia appealed to people to believe in rumours and maintain peace. “Delhi will win and hatred will lose.”
Former Union Minister Vijay Goel, who has represented the Chandni Chowk constituency twice, accused the AAP of using the incident for political gains.