How Muslim, Hindu Trilokpuri residents are joining hands to end communal tension
New Delhi: The violence in Trilokpuri was never a Hindu-Muslim fight; it was fuelled by anti-social elements from both sides. Let’s not fall prey to malicious rumour-mongering and maintain peace’.
The locals of the area have finally taken the matter into their hands and have been busy conveying this message to people of both communities.
Thanks to the effort of the 50-member Aman Committee, normalcy is limping back to East Delhi’s Trilokpuri, which has been tense since Diwali night when clashes broke out between Hindu and Muslims over a petty issue, leaving 70, including 56 policemen, injured.
After repeated attempts of the volunteers of the committee, both sides finally agreed on Wednesday that the controversial Mata ki Chowki would be removed from Block 20 on Friday (October 31) after holding a jagran (an overnight worship of Goddess Durga by singing bhajans and reciting aartis).
“It has been decided that the temporary Mata ki Chowki will be removed from Block 20 on Friday after a jagran, which will be facilitated by Muslims who will serve their Hindu brothers water, tea, coffee, snacks and take care of other necessities,” Akhtar Hussain, one of the volunteers of the peace committee, told Firstpost.
This will not be a one-sided affair. Hindus too will ensure safe and peaceful conclusion of Yaum-e-Ashura (the 10th day of Muharram), which will be observed on 4 November. “The Hindus have also ensured us that they will set up stalls of water and other soft drinks for Muslims who take out a religious procession to mark the 10th day of Muharram,” he said with a huge smile of relief on his face.
Creating trust deficit between the two communities is easy, but bridging the gap is extremely difficult, says Chinnadurai Adhikesavan, a senior lawyer at the Delhi High Court and one of the members of the peace committee. “We are visiting each block and urging people to maintain peace. We are requesting them to act wisely and not to believe rumours. We are in touch with people at the ground level and are trying to create a bridge between cops and panicked residents," he said.
Another volunteer, Ravi Saxena said, “We do patrolling at night in all blocks along with the police. As we are locals, we identify local trouble makers and help the police to nab them. We are holding regular meetings with the representatives of both communities and it is proving crucial in restore peace here.”
The team took with it the prayer leader of the mosque in Block 20, where the first scuffle took place, as well as a priest of a nearby temple and held a peace march in the block to make people understand that they can still co-exist.
“The sole aim to involve the priest and prayer leader in the peace march was to give out the message that this was not a Hindu-Muslim fight. It was fuelled by anti-social elements from both communities. We urged people with folded hands to stay away violence,” said Ram Chandra Tilak.
Although holding peace marches and working for restoration of peace in disturbed area sound good, it is extremely challenging and dangerous work because we become the targets of those who get arrested on our tip-off, says Riyazuddin Saifi, another committee member and resident of the area.
“We deployed our women volunteers in Block 28 to keep the youth from leaving houses during police crackdown. We also faced stone pelting while identifying residents from stone throwers who had come from outside. The situation started slipping out of hand when the rioters were joined by local residents who were raising religious slogans to encourage them. The police managed to arrest many accused with our help, therefore, we are on the radar of many goons,” he said.
Because of the complete shutdown in the area, people are running short of vegetables, ration, milk, cooking gas and medicines. “We along with police officials have started rushing in with daily use items and medical aids so that communal atmosphere douse down. We are also rushing the injured to hospitals,”says Ravi Saxena.
The committee comprises government servants, social workers, advocates and doctors. “The group has people with different nature of jobs but these days, we have left all other engagements to bring back normalcy in our area,” says Reshma Saifi, a woman volunteer of the peace committee.
Dr Pervez Alam, president of the committee, is confident that peace will prevail in the area in a couple of days.
The police also acknowledge the importance of the peace committee. “They (volunteers of the Aman Committee) are of great help to us. The tension has subsided to a great extent because of their tireless effort. We are working with them. Had there not been such people in the committee, we would have struggled a lot to bring the area back on track,” Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Beniwal told Firstpost.
Asked about the arrests, he said, “So far, we have nabbed 67 people in connection with the violence. All the arrests have been made on the basis of photographs and video clippings of the clashes available with us. A total of 14 people have been detained on charges of making hoax calls to the police.”
One of the five “prime accused” was arrested on Monday night. The search for the other four is still on, he said.
The situation is completely under control and there has been no report of fresh violence since Sunday, said Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra.
“Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC (prohibiting unlawful assembly of people) are still in force. We have divided the entire Trilokpuri area into 36 blocks. More than 1,000 policemen from Delhi Police, Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police Force along with over 30 police vans, water cannons and riot control vehicles have been deployed. All the main exit and entry points have been sealed by the police,” he added.
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