At least nine people, including eight police officers and one civilian, were injured after clashes broke out between members of two communities in northwest Delhi’ss Jahangirpuri locality on Saturday (April 16) following a procession to mark Hanuman Jayanti. Security was tightened in the area and an uneasy calm prevailed on Sunday morning.
Police said 14 people had been arrested. Among the injured was sub-inspector Medhalal Meena, who suffered a bullet injury to his hand. His condition is stable, police said. More suspects have been identified using CCTV footage and videos on social media and efforts are on to arrest them.
Reports said an argument led to the violence in which the warring groups threw stones at one another when the procession neared a mosque. While public property was damaged and vehicles were burnt, a tense atmosphere prevailed in the area till late in the night.
Delhi police commissioner Rakesh Asthana tweeted on Sunday that the situation is under control. “Adequate additional force has been deployed in Jahangirpuri & other sensitive areas. Senior officers have been asked to remain in field and closely supervise the law and order situation and undertake patrolling,” he said, adding that strict action will be taken against the rioters. He urged citizens not to pay heed to rumours and fake news on social media.
In today’s incident in NW District, the situation is under control. Adequate additional force has been deployed in Jahangirpuri & other sensitive areas. Senior officers have been asked to remain in field and closely supervise the law & order situation & undertake patrolling. 1/2
— CP Delhi #DilKiPolice (@CPDelhi) April 16, 2022
The violence was “an attempt to create communal tension”, a police officer said in an FIR.
Rajeev Ranjan, an inspector at the Jahangirpuri station, said: “On the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, there was an attempt to create communal tension by stone-pelting.”
Sub-inspector Meda Lal said projectiles were fired by both sides. Lal was one of the police personnel injured in the violence.
Andhra Pradesh too witnessed a similar incident after clashes broke out in Holagunda on Saturday when members of the right-wing body Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) took out a rally on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. Stone pelting took place when the procession neared a mosque and the VHP members started playing loud music and chanting slogans. Twenty people were detained by the police after the incident.
Violence also broke out on Hanuman Jayanti in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, after stone-pelting started during a Shobhayatra. 10 people, including the in-charge of Mandavar outpost, were injured. The rioters vandalised several vehicles and set two on fire. Bhagwanpur police immediately rushed to the spot as tensions ran high. A high alert has been issued in the entire state after this incident.
Also read: Where Hindu-Muslim unity still won over communal hatred
First major violence
This was the first major violence in the area after the northeast Delhi riots in 2020, in which over 53 people were killed.
While the injured have been taken to the hospital, police in all 14 districts have been put on high alert and senior officers have been asked to be on the field.
BJP MP also visited the spot and tweeted about it.
BJP MP from North-West Delhi, Hans Raj Hans, visits the Jahangirpuri area in Delhi, where a clash broke out during a Shobha Yatra y’day, April 16
Said, “I couldn’t sleep; wanted to go & check the situation myself. Union Home Minister is also awake, keeping every minute’s track.” pic.twitter.com/PJng2W5JdZ
— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2022
Delhi | Morning visuals of the Jahangirpuri area where a clash broke out yesterday during a religious procession https://t.co/9x3G4IVkKG pic.twitter.com/0ZSUyAODYO
— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2022
“Commissioner of Police, Delhi has directed that in view of communal situation in Jahangirpuri, all officers up to the rank of Special Commissioners of Police of both zones shall be in the field and ensure that communal situation is not disturbed in any part of Delhi. Rest of the officers shall also be on alert,” read a communique sent to police officers in the national capital.
Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana told NDTV that additional forces have been sent to sensitive areas and concerned officials are monitoring the situation.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a discussion with Asthana and Delhi Police’s Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Dependra Pathak, asked them to exercise sensitivity in handling the matter.
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on the other hand, has asked the people in the locality to maintain peace and “hold each other’s hands”.
Kejriwal told the media that he appeals to everyone to maintain peace as the country can not progress without it. “The central government has the responsibility to maintain peace in the national capital. I appeal to people to maintain peace,” he said.
The chief minister also said LG Anil Baijal has assured that all steps are being taken to ensure peace and that guilty will not be spared.