The morning papers of 26th October 2014 carried news of communal clashes in Trilokpuri area with policemen among 14 injured, gunshot injuries and police claims of the situation as ‘tense but under control’. The police also claimed that aman committees have been set up in the area.
The undersigned three member team from two progressive organizations of Delhi- Advocate Ms. Poonam Kaushik, General Secretary and Advocate Ms. Shobha, President of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS) and Rajesh, Delhi Committee Member of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) visited Trilokpuri area on Sunday 26th October. We saw the people sitting at the Mata ki Chowki in Block 20 (few youth who locals said were unemployed), residents of Block 20, Block 26, and of Sanjay Camp just adjacent to Block 27. We met the ACP of the area and also tried to meet the DCP.
The facts that we could ascertain were briefly as follows. Trilokpuri is a resettlement colony set up since 1975, with residents having 22 yards plots. Residents of the area are mostly Dalits (Valmikis) and Block 27 and Sanjay Camp are overwhelmingly Muslim populated. The Councillor of the area is Gurmeet Kaur (Congress), MLA is Raju Dhingan (AAP) and MP Mahesh Giri (BJP).
There was an incident on Diwali evening (23rd October) at the temporary Mata ki Chowki in Block 20. A dump was situated at the chowk of block 20 since the colony was set up. Few years ago all its walls broke but it still continued to be the dump. Around five years ago a Hanuman idol was set up to its left by local boys. These Navaratras a Mata ki Chowki was set up to its right but no one knows the date of the Jagran when it is supposed to be lifted. Fifty metres to the right of the dump on the same side is a Masjid.
On 23rd evening around 7:30 PM there was obscure incident at this spot after which there was stone throwing. But the residents gave differing accounts of what had actually happened ranging from a brawl turning into a clash to stone pelting from the Masjid.
On 24th evening, according to the residents of Block 27 at 8 PM there began a rally of around 150 people which started from the office of Sunil Vaid, former BJP MLA in Block 21. The rally walked down the main road raising slogans of “Har Har Mahadev” and “Those who live in Hindustan will have to live like us”. No police escort was present at this rally. This is the event that actually marked the deliberate intervention by Hindu communal organizations to communally polarize the people.
On the 25th, around 1:30 PM, around 100 to 150 men (whom the people of block 27 described as helmeted and whose photos they had taken) walked down the main road in front of the blocks pelting stones and broken bricks. The bricks are still lying on the road. Apparently they injured the 13 policemen. We saw a showroom in Block 27 that had been burnt and residents of other blocks suggested that the owners must have burnt it themselves.
On 25th night the police came to Block 27. According to residents they broke all vehicles which might have been marked as belonging to Muslims and then entered the Sanjay Camp. Here they broke open all locked doors saying men had been hidden in them. Broken doors could be seen when we went. We met several women with injury marks on their bodies and with visible lathi marks. We met six of them aged from 15 years to 50 years (names not being disclosed for the fear of police reprisal). A 16 year boy had an injury on the head which he said was a lathi blow. One shop was open at that time; its owner was thrown on the ground and beaten. Injuries are still visible on his body. No shops are open in this Block and Camp; residents of the Camp have either fled away or are desperate for food and even asked the team to ask the police to allow them to collectively cook food. The injured are not going to govt. hospitals for the fear of cases being framed against them. The people here say that they visited AAP MLA who refused to help them. Residents of Block 27 said that around 20 boys/men have been arrested from their Block and 10 o 12 from Sanjay Camp.
In the areas we moved around, shops were shut. Police and RAF were asking people to stay indoors and few vegetable sellers we saw were also sent away in about half an hour. The area is thick with rumors having many elements of the propaganda that is commonly used against Muslims, which points to the role of a communal organization behind this.
Interaction with Police
The ACP refused to speak saying that he was not authorized to do so. The DCP did not answer our calls for an appointment. So a written request has been sent along with a request to be allowed to meet the injured policemen and those who received gunshot injuries to know their version of the incident.
1. The incident on Diwali Day provided an excuse for the Rally on the next day organized by Hindu communal forces. The subsequent stone throwing was also to deliberately provoke hostility among communities.
2. No aman committees have been heard of by the people in block 27 or any other block.
3. The area is thick with rumours. No one can say exactly where and when any shooting took place but they believe it did. No one saw the injured policemen. There are the usual allegations rife of school girls of one community of being eve teased by the other- by both sides.
Conclusions and Demands
1. A small incident has been used to deliberately polarize the two communities and subsequently police has wrecked barbarity on the inhabitants of the Muslim dominated Sanjay Camp. The rally organized by the BJP leader on 24th evening followed by a stone pelting mob the next day laid the ground for deliberately unleashing police violence on the minority community.
2. The incident shows the same pattern followed in Bawana and in other parts of India of using any excuse or incident to provoke communal polarization. Since both communities live side by side in so many parts of Delhi, great vigilance and determination is needed from the people to defend their right to peaceful coexistence and to defeat the communal conspiracies of the BJP-RSS.
3. The minority community has been subject to barbaric violence by the Delhi police in Sanjay camp. The police and administration must stop hiding facts from the people in the name of maintaining law and order. People are the best guards of peace. All facts must be made known about the nature of injuries of the policemen, of the names of those with gunshot injuries, the bullets should be recovered and sent to verify whether they are police bullets. A judicial enquiry by a sitting judge should immediately be ordered into the police violence in Sanjay Camp and into the entire sequence of events. Police repression must be stopped forthwith, prohibitory orders should be lifted so that people can procure essentials and policemen guilty of attacks on minorities must be punished.
(Poonam Kaushik, Rajesh, Shobha, Dr Vikas Bajpai)