Old Delhi violence: Cops, locals blame outsiders

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 23, 2012 09:29 IST

A day after violence broke out in Old Delhi near the ruins found at the Jama Masjid metro station site — believed to be of the 17th century built Akbarabadi mosque — the Delhi Police arrested two persons for rioting and damaging public property.

Police and local leaders said the violence was the handiwork of outsiders who wanted to disturb the peace in the area.

Protesters, on late Saturday night, had injured 10 police personnel and damaged two buses and five bikes.

As locals gathered at the Daryaganj traffic light and pelted stones at vehicles, even restaurants in area were forced to close for the night. So much so, that those inside the restaurants were forced to stay inside till around 3.30 am.

"The situation was under control till 11 pm. Suddenly, a group of protesters came from the Jama Masjid road and started shouting slogans. Soon they started pelting stones, and police closed all shops. There were at least 15 customers at my shop who remained inside till 3 am," said Shahid, manager at a Daryaganj restaurant.

Sources said that the violence was triggered by a rumour that the police had demolished the structure.

"The protesters stopped DTC buses and pelted stones on them. At least two buses were damaged and five bikes were set on fire. We have videographed the whole event and those who took part in the violence will be arrested soon," a senior police officer said.

Police have closed the door leading to the site and barricaded the area.

On Sunday afternoon too, around 250 locals gathered and tried to enter the disputed site but were stopped by police.

"We will carry a flag march  at night," said DC Srivastava, additional CP (central).

Delhi Police, who conducted meetings with community leaders in the Jama Masjid area, said that religious leaders would help them control the situation.

Meanwhile Matia Mahal MLA, Shoaib Iqbal, has decided to move court to allow them to offer prayers at the mosque site. "I have enough proof that the remains are of Akbarabadi mosque and since this is the holy month of Ramzan, the court must allow us to offer prayers at least for a month," Iqbal said.


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