The city came close to a communal conflagration on Thursday, when a large crowd gathered to protest the detention of some people who tried to carry out repairs at dilapidated graves inside Karbala grounds in Jor Bagh colony off Lodhi Road.
Officials from the nearby Anjuman-e-Haideri took labourers to the Karbala grounds on Thursday morning for repair work in the vicinity of Maha Khanam.
After local residents called in the police, work was stopped and police detained some people.
Anil Chowdhary, a member of the local residents' welfare association said, "The tomb is a heritage structure under New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area. They can carry out repairs only after NDMC allows them."
A crowd of around 150-175 people, including women, gathered at the Karbala grounds around 5 pm to protest the detention of their friends and neighbours. However, heavy police bandobast prevented any untoward incident.
Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, secretary, Anjuman-e-Haidari, "Although police released the labourers, two of our officials were beaten up during the detention. In fact, our manager, Zahurul Hasan is admitted at the AIIMS Trauma Centre, following a head injury."
Stating that the "matter is sub-judice", HGS Dhaliwal, deputy commissioner of police (south) said, "Some labourers were taken into preventive custody but released later."
The area has already witnessed a dispute between two communities over the ownership of land on which a Mughal-era heritage wall mosque — Qanati Masjid — stands.
Anjuman-E-Haideri, that functions under the Shia Wakf Board, has also put up an appeal with regard to another heritage structure — Nakkarkhana — already in bad shape.
In earlier cases, the court has fixed the next date of hearing on March 21 and directed all parties concerned to maintain status quo.