Advertisement

Home / India / Left delegation finds out what led to Jahangirpuri clash

Left delegation finds out what led to Jahangirpuri clash

Members suggest the flare-up in an area not known for communal unrest should be seen in conjunction with a series of earlier events
Relatives of some of  those who had been detained and other residents wait outside Jahangirpuri  police station in Delhi on Monday.
Relatives of some of those who had been detained and other residents wait outside Jahangirpuri police station in Delhi on Monday.
PTI Photo

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui   |   New Delhi   |   Published 19.04.22, 02:25 AM

A fact-finding delegation of three Left parties has concluded that Saturday’s clashes at Jahangirpuri in northwest Delhi were the fallout of an agenda by some alleged Sangh parivar affiliates to use religious festivals to foment communal strife.

The delegation from the CPM, CPIML and the Forward Bloc interacted with 50 households, from both communities.

Advertisement

The members suggested that the flare-up in an area not known for communal clashes should be seen in conjunction with a series of earlier events. The team cited the ban announced by the south Delhi mayor — a BJP leader — on the sale of non-vegetarian food, the alleged ABVP bid to enforce vegetarian diet in JNU and the murder of a farmhouse caretaker by cow vigilantes in the capital.

The following are highlights from the Left delegation’s fact-finding report:

⚫ Residents told the visiting team that a group of 150 to 200 people, carrying arms, blaring loud music and raising slogans, had been roaming around in a procession (shobha yatra for Hanuman Jayanti) since the afternoon in Jahangirpuri. Bystanders said they saw pistols and swords being brandished by the marchers — in line with the content of video clips aired by some TV channels.

The team was told that the procession had been organised not by people from the neighbourhood but by the Bajrang Dal, with most of the participants being from outside the area. On Sunday, several Hindu and Muslim residents too had told The Telegraph that most of the participants were “outsiders”.

The delegation was informed that the procession had been accompanied by two police jeeps — one at the front and the other at the rear. However, each jeep had only two personnel. The fact-finding report asked why the police did not make adequate arrangements and allowed arms to be carried in the procession.

⚫ The team was told that the procession had already made two rounds of Block C, where many residents are Bengali-speaking Muslims.

It was during the third round of the procession (around 6pm) that trouble broke out. If there was a “conspiracy” by the Muslim residents to disrupt the procession as alleged by BJP leaders, the attacks would likely have taken place earlier. The incidents occurred when the procession stopped outside a mosque at the exact time when those observing roza (fast) during Ramazan were gathering at the mosque for prayers.

⚫ The report asked several questions: why was the procession allowed to stop there? Why were slogans allowed to be raised just outside the mosque? In other words, the armed procession was given the licence to stop outside the mosque and shout slogans just when the faithful had gathered to pray. If there was a conspiracy, this was the conspiracy.

(CPM politburo member Brinda Karat on Monday wrote to Delhi police commissioner Rakesh Asthana, urging him to act against the police personnel who had allowed the procession to carry weapons, were responsible for the lack of adequate arrangements, permitted the procession to stop in front of the mosque, and were conducting a biased investigation.

(“Video evidence aired on several TV channels along with eyewitness reports to our fact-finding team are conclusive evidence that the procession taken out by members of the youth wing of the Bajrang Dal was armed with several men carrying naked swords, lathis and also, shockingly, firearms. These weapons were openly flaunted and brandished during the procession. The police have stated that the procession had police permission. Did the police give permission to carry arms?” Karat said in the letter.

(“From your statement to the media, it is unclear whether you have identified the persons in the processions who were carrying arms and, if so, whether they have been arrested under the relevant provisions of law, including the Arms Act,” Karat told Asthana.

(“It is also unclear from your statement whether there is any investigation into the role of the police. Who is accountable for allowing an armed procession to stop in front of a mosque shouting provocative and aggressive slogans at the exact time when the prayers to break the roza fast were scheduled to begin? Such deliberate acts of omission and commission by the police have directly resulted in the ensuing incidents.”)

⚫ The Left team was told that stones were thrown from both sides. Fear had gripped the residents that the marchers would enter the mosque with the police not intervening. Some people who did not want to be named told the team that arms were later brought in by some members of the minority community. Later, the marchers were outnumbered and they fled.

⚫ The delegation saw a few burnt cars and a burnt motorbike. A shop belonging to a Hindu had been looted. The delegation was informed the police had been caught between the two groups of stone throwers and some of them suffered injuries.

⚫ At night on April 16 (Saturday), the police conducted raids and made indiscriminate arrests. When women tried to find out why their homes were being raided, male police personnel punched them in the stomach and beat them, the team was told.

⚫ When the fact-finding team members went to Jahangirpuri police station on Sunday, they were surprised to find that Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupt and MP Hansraj Hans were addressing a media conference on the police station premises in the presence of police officials. Around them, people were shouting “Jai Sri Ram”. The Left delegation asked in the fact-finding report: Does this not clearly show the partiality of the police?

(Asked, BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor told this newspaper on Monday evening that Gupta and Hans had addressed the media outside the police station, not on its premises.

(The People’s Union for Civil Liberties too wrote to Delhi police chief Asthana, seeking action against those seen in several videos shouting communal slogans and brandishing pistols and swords.

(The letter highlighted that a BJP leader had on Sunday visited Jahangirpuri and shouted in front of the mosque: “Jisko desh mein rehna hoga ‘Jai Sri Ram’ kehna hoga.”

(“This slogan is a threat to every Indian who does not submit to the dictates of the said speaker,” the PUCL said.)

⚫ The team found that there had never before been a communal clash in the area, where Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades. The Bengali Muslims have been living in Jahangirpuri since the inception of this resettlement colony, at least four decades ago. The mostly self-employed residents are involved in street vending, petty trade, fish selling and waste collection. It is shocking, the report said, that the BJP should term them “illegal” or describe them as Rohingya refugees. They are bona fide citizens, the report said.

⚫ The Left team found that residents across the neighbourhood lacked confidence in the police and believed the force was conducting a one-sided and prejudiced inquiry, influenced by BJP leaders. This is in sharp contrast with the BJP’s praise for the police.

The one-sided arrests of mainly members of the minority community, even though video evidence is available of the provocative behaviour and aggressive actions of the marchers, are unjust and motivated, the report said.

(Delhi police chief Asthana on Monday said 23 people from “both communities” had been arrested so far in connection with the violence in which eight policemen and civilians were injured.

(“So far, 23 people have been arrested and they are from both communities. Eight of them have a previous criminal record. Those involved in the violence will not be spared irrespective of their class, creed or religion,” Asthana said.

(He denied claims that attempts had been made to plant a saffron flag at a mosque in Jahangirpuri during the Hanuman Jayanti procession.)

⚫ The Left delegation spoke to the additional DCP and informed him of the residents’ perception of bias, triggered by the indiscriminate detention of members of the Muslim community. The delegation also informed the police of the complaints of manhandling mentioned by the women.

⚫ On the probe being transferred to the crime branch, the fact-finding report said it was an “eye wash and unacceptable”.

“A judicial inquiry with a time-bound mandate should be ordered to unravel the truth, which will no doubt bring to light the diabolical efforts being made by the Sangh parivar to disturb communal harmony in the capital,” the report said.

“The Left parties demand that the home ministry and the President immediately intervene to reverse the partiality of Delhi police. Action should be taken against the guilty police personnel immediately…. Any delay would only explain the unreliability of the government in such issues. The lieutenant governor of Delhi should immediately intervene, breaking his silence.”

Stones

The police said two stones had been thrown at a police team by family members of an accused in Jahangirpuri on Monday.

“A police team had gone to the house to look for an accused who was seen in a video opening fire during Saturday’s violence. When the police team tried to question the family members, they threw two stones at the cops in retaliation. Legal action is being taken and one person has been detained. The situation is completely under control now,” a police official said.

Among those arrested is Aslam who, the police said, shot at a sub-inspector, Medalal Meena. A country-made pistol has been recovered from him, the police said.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.