What triggered the sporadic violence that continues to envelop east Delhi’s Trilokpuri? Your guess is as good as any local resident’s depending on whom you ask.
Those belonging to the hot-blooded age group of 18-25 blame “boys from the other community”. Their parents claim they took part in the violence to save their sons from “police brutality”. Others blamed ‘outsiders’ for their continued troubles.
Meanwhile the police have continued to probe the role of rumour-mongers and political opportunists in the entire episode.
Taking into account all perspectives, HT has attempted to piece together a narrative.
Many blame the first violence on a ‘man being caught urinating next to a Mata ki Chowki’ set up near a cleaned-out garbage dump on Diwali.
“I heard that a Muslim boy was found urinating there even as a puja was being performed inside. When asked to leave, he began hitting everyone else present,” said a Hindu resident.
“Muslims have been angry ever since the local authorities disallowed them from using a local ground to offer prayers this Eid but allowed the Hindus to organise the chowki,” he added.
“We did what anyone would have done. We had to avenge the desecration, so we marched down to their mosque to do the same,” another resident said.
They also alleged that some men pelted stones at them from the terrace of the mosque which led to the subsequent violence.
There are others who believe that the violence was incited by outsiders. Most of these people have told the police that though they didn’t know much about what triggered the violence initially and what sustained it for three days, they believe it to be a well thought-out plan involving ‘goons from outside in riot gear’.
“A group of men — in civil clothes, biker helmets and with cricket bats and hockey sticks in their hands — appeared on the streets in one of the blocks on Friday evening and began smashing everything in sight,” said a local resident.
“When people from both communities saw what was happening, they naturally blamed each other for it despite the fact that men who were doing it were big, well-built men who looked like wrestlers. They were outsiders who wanted to take advantage of an issue that could have been resolved amongst ourselves. Our boys couldn’t have damaged their own homes like that,” he added.
Drunken indiscretion, deliberate exaggeration, rumour mongering and an unfortunate short-circuit in a shop led to the riots, sources in the police said.
“We have thoroughly investigated the scene of the supposed desecration of the Mata ki Chowki and found nothing but a broken liquor bottle,” said a senior police officer.
“Five teenagers from both communities — who are childhood friends and have grown up together — were verbally abused and asked to leave the area near the chowki by local residents. In retaliation, the five hurled a bottle at them as they drove past,” the officer said.
In any case, the police insisted, the episode was, at best, a clash between two gangs of local residents which would could have ended with the arrests of four minor
Muslim boys. However, the involvement of a local politician — who tried to cash in on the situation and called for ‘reinforcements from outside’ — did the damage.