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Mob Violence, Vandalised Temple, Communal Tension: All You Need To Know About Delhi’s Hauz Qazi Incident

On Sunday night, a parking brawl led to a mob incident where a temple was vandalised. But there’s more to it.

Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi, a part of the walled city, recently witnessed a communally charged environment. As per several reports, on Sunday night, a brawl broke over over parking outside a temple there. As things escalated, violence erupted that led to both injuries and vandalism. There was stone-pelting involved as well.

What happened

It all started when Sanjeev Gupta, a fruit vendor, got into a spat with Aas Mohammad over parking around 10.30 pm on Sunday night. The latter had parked his motorbike outside Gupta’s house. Gupta’s wife, Babita, said that Mohammad hurled abuses at her husband and left threatening him of dire consequences.

Soon after, a group of 20-25 men barged into Gupta’s house and assaulted him. They threw liquor bottles and stones at his home. On being called, cops from the Hauz Qazi police station reached the spot and detained both Gupta and Mohammad. However, while they were being questioned, a rumour about Mohammad dying because of his injuries was circulated on a Whatsapp group. After that, a mob of almost 200 reached the police station and demanded that his body be handed over to them. This group then attacked the temple.

Phone videos capturing the attack went viral on social media, and soon, protesters started gathering outside the temple demanding action against the attackers.

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Per the Times of India, on Monday morning, there was another round of stone-pelting around 2 pm. Several companies of Delhi Police and central forces were deployed in rows to keep the two groups away from each other. Several men were detained.

A different version

As per a report in The Quint, Saqib, a 27-year-old software engineer and a local, said, “When Mohammad was beaten up, he and his other family members went to the police station and filed a case.”

Per Aquib Hassan, who also lives in the neighbourhood, said that when Mohammad parked his scooter, Gupta allegedly asked him to move the vehicle somewhere, threatening to set it on fire should he not. “Once a quarrel erupted, Gupta, along with some other person, pulled Mohammad inside the building and beat him up,” said Hassan, adding that in the meanwhile, locals had called the Police Control Room and both Mohammad and Gupta were taken to the police station.

He further said, “When Mohammad and Gupta were at the police station, some unknown people gathered outside the temple and vandalised it. This led to tension in the area.”

Dr Ishrat Tafeel, who runs a clinic in the area, told The Quint, “A boy was parking outside a shop, and when the owner said no to it, an argument ensued. Following this, a few other men came and beat the boy up. When he was being taken to the hospital, people found out that he was beaten and since it was between two communities, the word spread like wildfire.”

The aftermath

Union Minister and Chandni Chowk MP Harsh Vardhan, who visited the area on Tuesday, said that the “culprits” would be arrested and punished. He said, “It is very unfortunate and painful. The kind of thing done to the temple is unforgivable. I have been told that police is already in action and culprits will be arrested and punished. I appeal to the people to maintain harmony.”

harsh vardhan
(Photo: Twitter/@drharshvardhan

Mandeep Singh Randhawa, the DCP of Central Delhi, took to Twitter to clarify the matter. He wrote, “After some altercation & scuffle over a parking issue in Hauz Qazi, tension arose b/w two groups of people from different communities. We have taken legal action & all efforts are being made to pacify feelings & bring about amity. People are requested to help in restoring normalcy.”

Things have reportedly gone back to normal in the area. As per Times of India correspondent, Raj Shekhar Jha, “After a highly tensed 24 hours, the situation seems to return to normal in Hauz Kazi. Kudos to local Hindus to have maintained their cool despite a temple being vandalised.”

On July 1, Mufti Mukarram, the Shahi Imam of The Fatehpuri Masjid took to social media to appeal to the Muslim masses to restore the temple. He urged the elders and member of the RWA to come up with an amicable solution and for the vandalised temple to be repaired. He also urged that the police make an example out of the miscreants.

As per another report on The Quint, the priest of the temple, Anil Kumar Pandey, said, “I don’t know anybody’s name or face. They broke the idols of the deities and burnt the curtains of the temple. I don’t want anything but that they should be punished,” adding,  that he could not comment on whether the incident was a communal one, but emphasised the fact that it shouldn’t be given a communal colour, saying it was ‘against humanity’.

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