Asit Das asit1917 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 27 03:55:33 CDT 2014

Trilokpuri riots: Was Delhi Police asked to go soft on rioters, wonder
communal riot Violence leaves East Delhi tense, 35 hurt, Section 144 imposed

   - [image: Similarities between Trilokpuri riots and Muzaffarnagar hard
   to ignore]

   Similarities between Trilokpuri riots and Muzaffarn


   - [image: China's counter-terror drills with India are really about its
   fears of Pakistan]

   China's counter-terror drills with India are really about its fears o

by Tarique Anwar <http://www.firstpost.com/author/tarique>  Oct 27, 2014
08:54 IST

#AAP <http://www.firstpost.com/tag/aap>   #BJP
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/bjp>   #Communalo violence in India
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/communalo-violence-in-india>   #Congress.
HIndu-Muslim riots
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/congress-hindu-muslim-riots>   #Delhi
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/delhi>   #Delhi communal violence
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/delhi-communal-violence>   #India
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/india>   #Trilokpuri
<http://www.firstpost.com/tag/trilokpuri>   #Trilokpuri riots

*New Delhi:* The three-day unabated communal violence in East Delhi’s
Trilokpuri locality has shaken the perception of safety and security in the
national capital. It has also raised questions on the ability of the Delhi
Police to handle a communal situation.

The area has been on the boil during last three days following a clash
between two communities on Diwali night. The rioting and arson, the first
big incident of communal nature since a long time, took place under the
nose of the “world’s largest metropolitan police”, which reports to the
Central government led by Narendra Modi
The latter had called for a 10-year moratorium on caste and communal
violence during his Independence Day speech.

Trilokpuri has the dubious distinction of being home to the worst violence
against Sikhs in November 1984, where residents were pulled out of their
homes and burnt alive. Around 350 Sikhs were reported killed. Although the
area has remained tense from time to time over minor incidents, this is the
first communal clash between Hindus and Muslims since 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
[image: Trilokpuri, post the riots. PTI.]

Trilokpuri, post the riots. PTI.

Violent clashes between the two groups erupted on Diwali night over a petty
issue in Block 20 of the locality. The police intervened and controlled the
situation but did not enforce prohibitory order (Section 144 of CrPc),
which does not allow any public meeting, assembly of five or more persons,
carrying of arms, banners and placards and shouting of slogans in disturbed

Tension mounted once again on Friday night after former BJP MLA Sunil Kumar
Vaidya allegedly visited the area and was reportedly greeted by furious
chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’. Locals alleged that he instigated people for a
fresh round of violence immediately after one dies down. Heavy stone
pelting took place and gun shots were exchanged between the two
communities. The incident spread to other blocks as well. Some shops were
set ablaze and vehicles vandalised. At least 15 persons, including 13 cops
and two locals, suffered injuries.

The police used “mild force” and fired tear gas shells to disperse the
unruly mob. After struggling for hours, the police finally controlled the
situation. Apart from Delhi Police, Rapid Action Force (RAF), Central
Reserve Police Force (CRPF), water cannon vehicle and riot control vehicle
were deployed.

But again, Section 144 was not imposed. The situation remained “tense but
under control” till 10 am on Saturday.

Despite the large contingent of police, rioters once again gathered in
large number in different blocks of the area, started stone pelting and
exchanging gun fires. According to locals, the police took two hours to
reach the spots. Five persons had suffered gunshot injuries in the clashes.
Till last evening, 35 people, including 13 policemen had reportedly
sustained injuries.

The situation was brought into control and Section 144 was imposed later in
the evening.

When asked why the police took such a long time to impose prohibitory
orders, which should be enforced after the first day of the violence, Delhi
Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told *Firstpost*: “Our officers were
closely monitoring the situation and when they felt the need to impose it
(Section 144), they did so.”

"The situation is under control. No fresh violence or clash has taken place
today," he added.

There was a chaos inside Mayur Vihar police station on Saturday evening.
Everyone appeared unsettled. Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Beniwal
was pulling up his juniors for letting a minor incident flare up in full
blown riots. Amidst all this, 19-year-old inconsolable Shamal, a resident
of Block 15, was running here and there in the corridor of the police
station in search of her two brothers - Mumtaaz and Sarfaraz - who were
picked up by the police. She wanted to register a compliant but instead of
listening to her, male constables pushed her out on the instruction of
their seniors.

Former Inspector General of the Uttar Pradesh Police SR Darapuri sees the
inaction of Delhi Police during violence in Trilokpuri as a repetition of
the ant-Sikh riots of 1984 and 2002 Gujarat pogrom. “Given the chronology
of the incident, it appears that the Delhi Police followed its political
masters and acted like mute spectator. I fail to understand why the deputy
commissioner of the police, who has the authority to order imposition of
prohibitory order on the basis of ground reports, kept waiting for the
third day ignoring the volatility of the situation,” he told Firstpost.

“It reminds me the 2002 Gujarat riots and 1984 anti-Sikh riots where the
police chose not to intervene or taking communally biased actions,” said
the top cop.

Since the Delhi Police is under the Central government, onus lies on the
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). “The MHA should come clean why the incident
was allowed to escalate and go on unabated for three days in the national
capital. It should probe why initial measures to control a riot-like
situation were not taken,” Darapuri added.

For Shri Ram Arun, ex-director general of the UP Police, the act of rioting
and arson by a communal mob for three consecutive days in the national
capital in heavy police presence is a “matter of serious concern”. “A tough
action should have been taken by the police and hooligans should be dealt
with iron hands but the police failed to do so. It is a serious lapse on
the part of the police. Not imposing prohibitory orders, which could have
not allowed the issue to escalate to such an extent, either might be
deliberate move or mere negligence” he told* Firstpost*.

Former Commissioner of Delhi Police Ved Marwah suspects the role of the
police. “Why was sufficient number of policemen not deployed in the entire
area after the Diwali night incident despite the fact that Trilokpuri is a
declared sensitive location? Why was anyone allowed to lead a mob in a
communally charged atmosphere? How did outsiders gather in large number in
the area? Why were pickets not erected to keep a tab on the suspicious
entries and exits? And most importantly, why did the police wait for the
third day to impose Section 144?” he asked adding that there is “something

“I believe that the police had some instructions from political bosses;
otherwise, the cops would not have been so irresponsible. This same modus
operandi of police action was adopted in 1984 riots,” he added. Advocate
Feroz Khan Ghazi, additional public prosecutor, Delhi High Court, told
* Firstpost*, “The tension was allowed to go on unabated for three days and
it is evident from the police action. Had the police been taken prompt
action, the violence took place on Friday and Saturday could have been

Alleging that it was a “pre-planned attack on the minority community”, he
said, “The incident has brought the role of the MHA under scanner. The BJP
is trying to polarise voters to grab power in Delhi as well.”

“If not enforcing Section 144 was a negligence, why was the DCP concerned
not served a show cause notice?” he asked.

“The steps taken by the police in the process of restoring communal peace
and harmony are also a matter of concern. There are reports that young men
are being illegally detained, and political representatives of one
community are being permitted to enter the police stations whereas others
are not. This has created an impression of communal and political bias and
a lack of fairness. This is not conducive to restore peace in the area,” he
HIRTY YEARS AFTER- The Trilokpuri riots in DelhiMukul Kesavan

The Hindu-Muslim violence that began on Friday in Trilokpuri in East Delhi,
is trivial compared to the riots and pogroms that disfigure India’s recent
history. A couple of bullet wounds, a dozen or so injuries, pitched street
fights where young men and boys threw stones and bricks at each other and
dispersed, seems to be the extent of the violence. While the area is still
tense, prohibitory orders and riot police seem to have brought the violence
under some sort of control.

But Trilokpuri isn’t just any neighbourhood in Delhi. Exactly thirty years
ago, almost to the week, Trilokpuri was one of the two most gruesome
killing fields in the pogrom of the Sikhs organized by the Congress and its
goons after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The other murderous *basti*,
also in East Delhi, was Kalyanpuri.

Kalyanpuri and Trilokpuri have something in common. They are both
resettlement colonies created by Mrs Gandhi to house people displaced by
the slum ‘clearances’ that the Congress government masterminded during the
Emergency under the direction of Jagmohan and Sanjay Gandhi. Many of the
Muslims in Trilokpuri were resettled there when the Turkman Gate *bastis* were
violently cleared. As John Dayal and Ajoy Bose wrote in their book, *Delhi
Under the Emergency*, these resettlement colonies weren’t model
neighbourhoods with neat plots, drainage, water supply, schools,
playgrounds, parks and electricity as Sanjay Gandhi claimed: they were
tracts of empty land where people literally bulldozed out of their slums
were dumped. The thing to remember about these hardscrabble neighbourhoods
is that given their origins, their residents weren’t citizens, they were
desperately poor clients dependent on the State and its political
operatives for every basic facility and amenity. Nothing was theirs by
right; even more than in the rest of India, their lives depended on the
vagaries of local politics and their access (or lack of it), to patronage
and ‘protection’.

Old urban neighbourhoods where communities have lived adjacently or
intermingled over many generations sometimes develop inter-community
networks that help their residents negotiate communal flashpoints without
violence, as Ashutosh Varshney has shown in his book, *Ethnic Conflict and
Civic Life. *But in urban settlements created by bureaucratic fiat as
holding pens for Delhi’s poor, life is a Hobbesian zero-sum game where
common sense consists of staying on the right side of Leviathan and its
grubbing agents.

This dependency, this permanent state of clientage is why the
Congress-directed pogrom of 1984 was bloodiest in the resettlement
colonies. Contrary to the durable urban myth that riots are engineered by
‘outsiders’, the Sikh residents of Trilokpuri and Kalyanpuri were killed by
their neighbours, by people they lived with and recognized. Their killers
weren’t inherently evil: their urban circumstance had made them creatures
of a vicious State apparatus and they jumped to do its bidding.

Which is why we ought to pay attention to these stirrings in Trilokpuri.
The history of communal violence in India demonstrates that it is closely
connected with turning points in high politics. In 1937, for example, the
Congress came to power in several states in India. In U.P. (then the United
Provinces), the Congress government was led by Govind Ballabh Pant and it
served for two years, till 1939. This period saw a measurable uptick in
communal rioting in the province’s towns and cities. The Muslim League made
political capital out of this violence by arguing that the Hindu bias of
the Congress government had led to local disputes and rioting.

While Pant’s government was not communally partisan, it was vulnerable to
the accusation of bias simply because apart from a couple of ministers,
every Congress MLA in U.P. was a Hindu. It was also true that local Hindu
notables and organizations felt emboldened by their first experience of a
democratically elected government that seemed made up principally of their
own kind. This sometimes encouraged local Hindu groups — like Ram Lila
committees for example — to assert themselves over procession routes or
customary practice in ways they hadn’t done before. And when Hindu and
Muslim festivals coincided on the calendar, the ‘right’ to march through a
Muslim neighbourhood, or the ‘right’ to play music before mosques, could
lead to confrontations that end in rioting and murder.

The violence in Trilokpuri centres on a temporary religious construction
called the Mata ki Chowki, built opposite a mosque in early October. The
*chowki* was built for a *jagaran*but left in place after it was over.
Twenty per cent or so of Trilokpuri’s population is made up of Muslims,
most of whom live in and around Block 20. Muslims in the neighbourhood
interviewed by the *Indian Express*, complained that after the *chowki* was
established, local Hindu activists pressed Muslims not to sacrifice goats
on Eid, which happened to occur close to Diwali this year. Local Hindus in
turn accused Muslims of ‘desecrating’ the *chowki*.

The parallels with the riots that occurred between 1937 and 1939, are
striking. The Mata ki Chowki is built right in the heart of the Muslim
ghetto in Trilokpuri, next to a mosque. This happens during the first
festival season that follows a general election decisively won by the
Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi, a man seen by friend and foe
alike as a Hindu strongman. This isn’t to argue that the BJP is behind the
violence. It is to point out that Hindu activists could be testing the
waters, testing precedent, testing the limits of the politically possible
in the wake of an election that has brought to power ‘their’ *sarkar*. Like
the Congress in U.P. in 1937, the BJP’s parliamentary majority in 2014
reinforces its image as a ‘Hindu’ party; its MPs are overwhelmingly Hindu
and not one of them is Muslim.

Unlike the Congress in 1937, which was both rhetorically and substantively
pluralist in its politics, the BJP, both historically and under the
direction of its current president, Amit Shah, has consistently identified
itself as a Hindu nationalist party, happy to consolidate the Hindu vote by
‘othering’ Muslims. The local BJP MP for East Delhi in whose constituency
Trilokpuri falls, Maheish Girri, hasn’t wasted any time in specifying who
he thinks is at fault. He told the *Indian Express*, “I called up the SHO
asking him to bring the situation under control. However, it worsened when
Muslim youth threw something into the area, again triggering stone pelting.”

So, what we are seeing here is local ‘Hindu’ assertion in the form of the
Mata ki Chowki, following up on the election of Modi *sarkar* and in
anticipation of possible assembly elections in Delhi, given that the
suspension of the present assembly can’t extend beyond January.
Three-quarters of Trilokpuri’s population is Dalit. A substantial part of
this electorate voted for the winning Aam Aadmi Party candidate the last
time round. Given the way the Muzaffarnagar riots led to the consolidation
of the Jat vote in the BJP’s favour in the general elections, the communal
polarization that invariably follows upon rioting wouldn’t harm the BJP’s
chances in the Trilokpuri assembly constituency. There’s reason, therefore,
for local Hindu activists to believe that their belligerence has the
implicit sanction of the new powers-that-be, even if the BJP has nothing to
do with the staging of the confrontation.

Newspapers have begun to report that families, mainly Muslim, have begun
leaving the neighbourhoods in anticipation of further trouble. There are
the customary complaints of the police singling out Muslim men as
responsible for the troubles. One middle-aged Muslim woman, old enough to
remember 1984, is haunted by her memories of the scale of the *Indira-kaand*

With even-handed policing and political prudence, these fears will blow
over and Trilokpuri will return to whatever passed for normalcy before the
recent violence. But the BJP, both as a government and as a party, needs to
be careful about fishing in troubled waters in Trilokpuri. Delhi’s
resettlement colonies aren’t the best places to experiment with
‘controlled’ polarization. These are neighbourhoods debauched by politics,
where the lives of residents depend upon how well they read political
prevailing winds. The people who built the Mata ki Chowki, who pressed
Muslims not to offer *qurbani*, who led noisy Kanwariya processions through
crowded Muslim neighbourhoods, are looking to the various avatars of the
State as it manifests itself in Trilokpuri — the police, the local
administration, the BJP, Modi *sarkar *— for a sign. Everyone who lived
through 1984 in Delhi and looked into the abyss, will pray that they don’t
get one.

ASAD ASHRAF <http://thecitizen.in/ByLine.aspx?Name=ASAD%20ASHRAF>
Communal clashes injure over a dozen people in Trilokpuri (Source: Express
Photo by Praveen Khanna)

*NEW DELHI:* Its eight in the evening, curfew has finally been imposed by a
reluctant administration in the disturbed areas of Trilokpuri that erupted
after two days of heightened tensions that was ignored by the authorities
until people from different communities clashed, arson and violence took
over, and at least 15 persons if not more were injured.

Inside the police station at Kalyan Puri, there is a chaos, everyone is
unsettled. The senior IPS officers stationed here screams indiscriminately
at his juniors, while reporters wait on the benches out in the corridor for
a quote from him about the situation on the ground.

Amidst all this, Shamala, 19, runs through the corridors of the police
station, crying inconsolably, in search of her two brothers, Mumtaaz and
Sarfaraz, both residents of block number fifteen, who were picked up during
the day by the police. Instead of being listened to she is dragged out by a
constable, on the instruction of his seniors. It was clear that the police
was in no mood to help the traumatised and terrified residents on this

We encountered Shamala again, as soon as we came out the station, as she
remained seated firmly on the pavement outside the police station with two
other women, both of them wearing veils. She tells us, “My brothers are
innocent people, they never indulged in any rioting, they are too busy to
earn a living for us and our ailing mother, I just want to know where have
they been taken by the police, so that we can arrange for some money and a
lawyer to get them released, if they are not released, how will we survive,
they are the bread earners of the family.” Stories of ‘disappearances’ and
‘fake encounters’ are clearly haunting her.

But Shamala, is not the only one in this locality, there were many others
in Trilokpuri, both Hindu and Muslim, who said that their men had been
taken into custody by the police without charges, or legal procedure. The
police predictably rebutted this, insisting that those picked up were
actively participating in the riots.

According to official records so far 70 people have been taken into police
custody, all of them on charges of Rioting. The minor scuffle that broke
out between the two communities on the night of Diwali over the issue of
religious hymns and delay in idol immersion placed outside a mosque of the
block number 20 of the Trilokpuri area, erupted into a full-fledged
communal clash between the two religious communities by the night of Oct
24. The situation was completely out of control by the next day.

Trilokpuri has the dubious distinction of being home to the worst violence
against the Sikhs in November 1984, where residents from here were pulled
out by Hindu mobs and burnt alive. Bonfires of burning bodies were lit,
with no police in sight. At least 350 Sikhs were reported killed from
Trilokpuri alone, if not more. The area has remained tense at levels,
although this is the first communal clash---this time between Hindus and
Muslims---since November 1984.

Ramesh Singh, who runs a tea stall in the area, accuses RSS of playing a
dominant role behind instigating the violence. He says, “It is the first
time that I have witnessed that during Diwali, idols were placed outside a
mosque, never before this has happened, it was intended to create trouble
to polarise voters before the forthcoming elections.”

The local AAP MLA, Raju Dhingan is clear that the BJP was behind the
violence. “ BJP knows that it cannot win the elections here, considering
the kind of work undertaken by me in the locality, Sunil Vaidya ( the
former BJP MLA ) was left with no choice than to polarize communities on
the basis of religion and hence this in front of you,” he said. The former
BJP MLA was not available for any comments on this.

Accounts of an eyewitness, who refused to be named fearing repercussions,
narrated how the former BJP MLA Vaidya reached the site where the idols had
been placed and declared that no one should dare remove the idols from the
place next to the mosque. He said that a temple will be constructed at
exactly the same place. This created a furore amongst the Muslims.

As we moved further towards Block number 15, the roads were littered with
brick bats that had been used in the clashes earlier.

A local resident, Shafaque Khan, sensed a conspiracy behind the violence ,
He said, “ I wonder how come brick bats were made available to the rioters
in such a short period of time. Does that not hint towards something?”
However, visibly scared he does not want to be drawn into naming
individuals or the political party behind the violence.

Surendra Pandey, who works with an IT company and is a resident of Block
number 14, adjacent to 15 was terrified to look at the situation, as he was
way back from his office. “I was taken aback when I came across the
situation, it is horrifying, we have Muslim friends just in the
neighbourhood, we wish them Eid and they reciprocate it on Diwali, How can
things turn out to be so bad”? he says in anguish.

Anita, a local resident of the locality and a Dalit activist, articulates
the political implications of the violence. “They have already started
saying that this was a clash between Dalit’s and Muslims of the area, some
newspapers have also reported that the area is inhabited by 80% Dalit’s, I
being one their local leaders can vouch that they might have participated
in the violence, in the spur of the moment as they might have been drawn
into it by vested interests, but they are certainly not the people who have
instigated it.’ This narrative of Dalit Muslim violence is a larger
conspiracy to break down any formidable alliance that existed between the
two communities she said.

Poonam Pandey, another resident of Block 14, blamed the Muslim community
for inciting this violence. What is the big thing about idols being placed
outside a mosque, why can’t they be, why is there this intolerance. They
threw stones on us first, we only responded,” she said.

However, there is no clear account of who hurled the stones first and who
was the one to incite the tension with both sides, and different
individuals, hurling varied accusations.

Ankit, a 14 year old came up to look at our cameras and then said, “I want
to tell you something.’’ And perhaps his account was the most correct and
honest, “people who we did not know, and recognise were in our locality in
the morning! They shouted slogans, Har Har Mahadev and started hurling

But then came the set response, “ I have decided not to be friends with
Muslims in school any more , they fight with us , they are bad people and
it’s better to stay away from them .”

Farzana, a local from block number 15, helplessly exclaims, “"I have never
witnessed such violence in our lifetime, if there is someone who can help
us, its god, police will not stand by us",

The violence so far has not claimed any life but the injured are being
treated in different hospitals of the city.

Sanjay Beniwal, Additional Commissioner of Police, told The Citizen that
the situation was under control. No fresh accounts of violence have been
reported. “We have deployed our men at every nook and corner of the area,
barricades have been put up and everybody is being frisked , our men are
stand are standing at the stop of the roofs of many houses to ensure that
no further brick batting should take place. I am proud that my men are
carrying out a stupendous job,” he said.

More information about the reader-list mailing list