Minor scuffle over parking takes a communal colour in Central Delhi after temple vandalised, heavy security deployed

Delhi: A minor scuffle over parking between Sanjay Gupta, who owns a food cart and Aas Mohammaed, a businessman  has now taken a communal angle after an unidentified mob vandalised the Gali Durga Mandir, near Jama Masjid in Chawri Bazar, Central Delhi the previous night.

Delhi Tense
Image Courtesy: PTI

As reported in The Hindu, Gupta and Mohammad entered into an altercation after Mohammad allegedly parked his scooter outside Gupta’s house where the latter parks his food cart on Sunday. When Gupta told him to move his scooter, Mohammad got agitated and started verbally abusing him. Notably, according to Gupta’s wife, Babita, Mohammaad threatened to teach Gupta a lesson before he left the incident spot. “My husband asked Mohammaed to remove the scooter but he got agitated and started abusing him. Before leaving, Mohammaed threatened to return and teach him a lesson. He returned with around 15 men and thrashed my husband,” said Ms. Babita. In the course, both of them sustained minor injuries.

The next day, at night 11.30 pm, a group of mob entered the Gali Durga temple, just near Jama Masjid, and vandalised it. The photos of the temple, that has been vandalised, have gone viral on social media and has led to communal tensions in the entire area. Soon after the attack, the police reached the spot before which the miscreants had fled. 

As per the latest developments, three FIRs have been registered in the case, two cross FIRs by Mohammad and Gupta and a third FIR for vandalising the temple and an attempt to create communal tension in the area.

DCP (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said that altercation and scuffle over the parking issue in Hauz Qazi triggered tension between the two groups of people from different communities. “We have taken legal action and all efforts are being made to pacify tension and bring peace. People are requested to help in restoring normalcy,” said Mr. Singh.

Both the communities have accused each other of stone pelting. Heavy security has been deployed in the area with more than 1,000 Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel armed with anti-riot gear deployed through the day on Monday. Police barricades were put on the main road at Lal Kuan, a popular market of hardware goods in central Delhi. All the shops were shut, and residents were asked to remain indoors until the situation was brought under control.

Police said that around 12.30 am on Monday, there were rumours in the locality that a 20-year-old Muslim man was dead after being thrashed by a Hindu family. This, police said, led to people vandalising a temple in the vicinity and desecrating the idols. This led to another group assembling to chase away and attack the group that was allegedly vandalising the temple.

However, according to Mohammad’s neighbour, Irshad Ali, Gupta’s family members and some other residents thrashed Mohammad and fractured his hand despite him telling them that he would remove his scooter within 10 minutes. “Some people from our area went to intervene when they learnt about the fight. The issue was resolved at the police station itself. But vandalism of the temple by some outsiders triggered the communal tension. We want this issue to end at the earliest,” said Ali, who is a member of the area’s Residents’ Welfare Association.

The police said that they have obtained CCTV footage from the area to identify the miscreants who vandalised the temple. No arrests have been made so far. 

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