Blood, injustice and anger burn the streets of north-east Delhi

From the elderly to teenagers, mob roughs up all till police arrive after half an hour; officer blames violence on ‘rumours’

Updated - February 25, 2020 09:23 am IST

Published - February 25, 2020 01:52 am IST - NEW DELHI

Vehicles set ablaze during violence in north-east Delhi on Monday.

Vehicles set ablaze during violence in north-east Delhi on Monday.

The main Wazirabad Road in north-east Delhi on Monday turned into a battleground with two communities pelting stones at each other, injuring several persons.

Metres before Khajuri Khas junction, members of the majority community thrashed those from the minority community.

The victims, some of them bleeding, were seen running for their lives.

At 4.02 p.m., a mob chased three members of the minority community — a boy who appeared to be a teenager, a middle-aged man, an older man. They not only punched and slapped the trio but also attacked them with sticks.

When the teenager tried to flee the spot, they dragged and thrashed him when the old man tried to save him. The boy then managed to run away after which the mob roughed up the old man. A few minutes later, they let him go. The middle-aged man, in an attempt to run away from the spot, injured himself.

At 4.09 p.m., a mini truck, driven by a member of a minority community, which was coming towards the 5th Pushta Road was stopped by a mob. The mob caught hold of the driver while he was trying to jump a divider and roughed him up. On seeing this, another set of people came to the spot and started beating the driver while chanting “Jai Shri Ram”. One of them said: “Maaro saale ko [thrash him]”. The vandalised vehicle was seen lying on the side of the road.

At 4.18 p.m., another mini truck driven by a member of a minority community carrying nearly 10 persons was stopped by a mob. As they started attacking the occupants, some of them tried to jump over the truck and run to the fields on the other side of the road but a part of the crowd caught hold of some of them and thrashed them mercilessly. A person started bleeding and subsequently ran away. This vehicle too stood vandalised.

A few minutes later, a few metres ahead, a mob stopped another car. They first slapped the driver, who with folded hands pleaded: “ Mujhe jaane do, maine kuch nahi kiya [Let me go, I have not done anything].” The mob later let him go.

After half an hour of these incidents, a few policemen came to the spot on four two-wheelers following which the mob dispersed on their own.

As the melee raged, a middle-aged woman who was de-boarding an autorickshaw near Khajuri Khas junction, asked a reporter: “Should I remove my burqa and cross the road?” She then removed the black veil and walked on.

‘Show ID cards’

At Khajuri Khas junction, there were no police officers. Here, the mob stopped many vehicles, asking drivers to show them their identity cards. The mob at first stopped an autorickshaw and slapped the driver. When he showed his identity card, the mob let him go. “He was stopped and beaten by mistake,” said a person, a part of the mob. A policeman reached the spot and dispersed the mob. At this spot, a bike was set ablaze. A few persons standing near the bike said it belonged to a man from the minority community.

On this stretch, at least 20 persons from the minority community were beaten up.

A few metres from the junction, members of both the communities pelted stones at each other with a road divider separating them. The police here used tear-gas shells to control the situation. An officer, Inspector Vinay Kumar, went ahead and tried to pacify both sides.

Aman committee member Mansoor Ahmed said announcements will be made in mosques, asking members of the minority community to stay indoors and not to indulge in violence.

The locals and the policemen on the spot said violence erupted after 2 p.m. and blamed its cause on “rumours”. “Yesterday [Sunday], vehicles were torched in the Chand Bagh by anti-CAA protesters, which enraged many people. The clash broke out when a group of persons was coming from the mosque as others thought they were going to protest. Following this, both the sides got into a fight,” said a policeman.

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