The Delhi Police Crime Branch and the district police have started jointly probing the Jahangirpuri communal violence incident that took place on Saturday evening during a Hanuman Jayanti procession passing through this area in north-west Delhi. Rapid Action Force (RAF) and police personnel have been deployed in the area. Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Depender Pathak said that the situation is under control and the atmosphere is peaceful. Twenty people have been arrested from the area and two juveniles apprehended. Of the 20, 14 were produced at Rohini court on Sunday. The court sent two prime accused—Ansar and Aslam—to police custody for one day. The remaining 12 were sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Three firearms and five swords have been recovered from the possession of the accused persons, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) North-West, Usha Rangnani. “An FIR has been registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 323, 427, 436, 307, 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 27 Arms Act dated April 16, following 20 accused persons have been arrested and 2 Juveniles in conflict with the law have been apprehended,” she said.
In Rohini court, the Delhi Police alleged that the main accused—Ansar and Aslam—got to know about the “Shobha Yatra” (procession) on 15 April and built the conspiracy. Delhi Police also said, “We have to go through the CCTV footage and identify others involved in this case.”
According to the police, Ansar is a history-sheeter. “Ansar was found to be previously involved in two cases of assault and was also arrested repeatedly under preventive sections and booked five times under Gambling Act & Arms Act,” the Delhi Police said on Sunday.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police North-West, Usha Rangnani, “One of the accused who opened fire has also been arrested. The pistol used in the commission of the crime has been recovered from his possession.” A Delhi Police sub-inspector sustained bullet injuries during the violence.
According to the FIR copy of the incident filed by Inspector Rajeev Ranjan of the Delhi Police, “The procession was underway peacefully; when it reached near C-Block mosque, a man (Ansar) along with 4-5 other people started arguing with those taking part in the procession”, added the police. The police further stated that later, stone pelting started from both sides.
“Police engaged in security for the religious procession separated the two groups but after some time clashes erupted between the two sides. On the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, there was an attempt to create communal tension by stone-pelting,” as per the police.
Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Medha Lal, who sustained bullet injuries during the violence at Jahangirpuri said on Sunday that the bullets were fired from the C-Block side of the area during the violence.
“Yesterday, a religious procession was taken out. When they reached a mosque, an argument started between two groups. Stone pelting followed but both groups were separated. Not much happened initially. The ones taking out the procession were taken to the G-block side and the ones around the mosque to the C-block side. Stone pelting started from the C-block side and bullets were fired from there too. Later, people came to the C-block side with swords. I also caught a bullet and went to the hospital on PCR,” Lal told the news agency ANI.
The police officer denied having any knowledge of the reasons that led to the argument taking place.
“I am fine now, currently recovering. I was present for the procession and later for the emergency duty at the spot as well. The other two processions before this particular one were peaceful,” he added.
Lal said that during the violence, people were present in thousands and a lot of police personnel sustained injuries in the stone-pelting that took place.
Ravindra Yadav, Special Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, told journalists, “District Police and Crime Branch are jointly investigating the matter (Jahangirpuri violence).”
After the incident, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana and Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Depender Pathak, said official sources.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Saturday condemned the incident of violence and stone-pelting in Jahangirpuri as unfortunate and said the miscreants will not be spared. He spoke with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi Police Commissioner.
The Delhi Police on Sunday held a meeting with members of Aman (peace) committees, a day after the clashes during the Hanuman Jayanti procession in Jahangirpuri. The meeting was organised by the Deputy Commissioner of Police North West at Kushal Chowk in the Jahangirpuri area with the members of the Aman committee of PS Jahangirpuri, PS Mahendra Park and PS Adarsh Nagar. The police asked the committee members to appeal to the people to maintain peace in their area, officials said.
BJP MP from North-West Delhi, Hansraj Hans has appealed for peace. “I appeal to everyone to maintain peace and brotherhood. There are some bad elements in every religion; they are responsible for such incidents,” he said. “There could also be some international powers that might want to weaken India, as we are becoming stronger,” he said.
Criticising Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal on the violence, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Anil Chaudhary on Sunday called him an “irresponsible leader” who is “not acting” promptly to maintain peace and harmony in the national capital.
“Arvind Kejriwal is just playing the blame game. Why was security not provided when a procession was going? It is the responsibility of the Delhi government and the Central government. Delhi has been a model of peace and unity. Shiela ji handled such incidents well but Arvind Kejriwal is not acting”, said Anil Chaudhary. He added, “This is a statement from an irresponsible leader.”
Kejriwal has appealed for peace. “I appeal to everyone to maintain peace as the country cannot progress without it. The Central government has the responsibility to maintain peace in the national capital. Appeal to people to maintain peace,” he said.
OPPOSITION REACTS, SHIV SENA DIVIDED
The Opposition parties have joined hands to take on the Narendra Modi government on this issue. Late on Saturday, expressing deep concern over the “growing incidents of hate speech” and “recent outburst of communal violence” in the country, the leaders of 13 Opposition parties in a joint statement urged the people to maintain peace and harmony while demanding stringent punishment against the perpetrators of communal violence. The Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, CPI(M), DMK and RJD among others condemned the incidents of violence across several states and expressed their “deep” concern. They also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been silent on the issue and said that he has “failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society.”
“This silence is an eloquent testimony to the fact that such private armed mobs enjoy the luxury of official patronage,” it added.
Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut too joined the bandwagon by questioning the PM. “The most worrisome thing is that the Prime Minister is silent over such incidents. The Prime Minister should come forward and talk about communal harmony and unity. He should come forward and share his Mann ki Baat,” Raut told journalists. Since there are no issues like surgical strikes, Ram Mandir prevailing at the present, hence in order to seek votes in the upcoming elections, such incidents are being orchestrated, he added.
But that the Opposition, including the Sena is divided on the matter became clear from a tweet by Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi on Sunday. “Why can’t procession carried out by Hindus, on Hindu festivals be allowed to do so in peace? Violent reactions to the yatras is saddening & that too in India’s capital. What is wrong is wrong & should be condemned by all, without any ifs & buts. #DelhiRiots”, Chaturvedi tweeted.
The 13-party joint statement also did not include Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), revealing major divisions in the Opposition ranks apart from putting a question mark on KCR’s national ambitions.
Heavy security was deployed across Haridwar following the incident of violence and stone-pelting in the Bhagwanpur area of the city on Saturday. The procession in the village was being conducted on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti when the incident reportedly occurred in the late-night. The police reached the spot and took charge of the situation promptly. “Stones were pelted by unknown persons and the search operations have begun to arrest the miscreants,” the police said.