Keeping in mind the communal tension simmering in outer Delhi’s Bawana and the recent riots in east Delhi's Trilokpuri, the police are taking no chances and have put both areas under a security blanket on Muharram.
Apart from imposing restrictions on the display of weapons — swords, lathis and knives — during the festival on Tuesday, the police will keep a close watch on the procession.
Muslims observe Muharram to mourn the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, in the battle of Karbala.
Sources said special measures were also being taken for other sensitive areas of the city, including Karbala, Jamia Nagar and the Walled City.
Tension has been prevailing in Trilokpuri since Diwali. A similar situation has been reported from Bawana with locals from a community objecting to the route of a Muharram procession.
To ensure peace in Trilokpuri, the police have planned to increase the duration of the prohibitory orders that had been relaxed, sources said. “The prohibitory orders were earlier relaxed from 6am to 7pm. They are planning to relax the orders till 3pm on Tuesday,” said a senior official.
Delhi Police imposed orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting any gathering or movement of a group of people, two days after the clashes.
Over 1,000 policemen, including Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, have been deployed in the area since October 26.
The official said Trilokpuri was likely to see increased deployment on Tuesday.
So far, 68 people have been arrested in connection with the Trilokpuri clashes.
Tension in Bawana has been brewing, and the situation took an ugly turn after some residents called a mahapanchayat on Sunday, objecting to the route of a Muharram procession. The police deployed extra forces in the area, with additional pickets to maintain harmony.
“We are taking all precautionary steps and have deployed extra forces in both the locations,” said special commissioner (law and order) Deepak Mishra.
An alternate route was chalked out with consent of both the communities following police intervention, and it will be curtailed to JJ cluster and not come toward the town and will also be observed in a "subdued" manner.
However, tension remained high after local leaders raised objections and provocative speeches and slogans were made at the gathering which was attended by hundreds of people.
Around 1,000 policemen have been deployed in the area and along the routes which will be closely monitored by senior police officials.
Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi cancelled his trip to the Interpol’s general assembly in Monaco on Sunday due to the prevailing communal tension in Trilokpuri and Bawana. Bassi was supposed to accompany home minister Rajnath Singh and CBI director Ranjit Sinha for the international meet.
Show of solidarity
More than 30 Hindu volunteers are ready to set an example of communal harmony in Trilokpuri by leading Muharram processions, IANS reported.
The Hindu volunteers will be divided among the five Muharram processions that will set out from different blocks of the east Delhi locality.
Joint commissioner of police Sanjay Beniwal told IANS: "Five Muharram processions may possibly set out from Block 27 and 37 of Trilokpuri around 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday). All the processions will be led by the Hindu volunteers. The Hindu volunteers are also ready to manage 'Chhabi', a water stall."
He said, "The number of people participating in the processions is not clear. They may be between 400 and 1,000."
Watch the traffic
Delhi is likely to witness traffic snarls on various routes due to Muharram processions, Delhi Traffic Police said on Monday, advising commuters to take alternate roads.
Police have also asked Delihiites to avail the services of Delhi Metro to save themselves from severe congestions, especially during peak hours.
According to police, the 'Alam and Taboot' procession will be taken out from Shia Jama Masjid, Kashmere Gate, Chabi Ganj, Chhota Bazar, Bara Bazar around 9am and would end at Panja Sharif at around 4pm while the tazias from Nizamuddin, Okhla and Mehrauli would reach Karbala directly.
These processions shall pass through entire Old Delhi region and make their way through major zones and stretches that include the Paharganj bridge, Ajmeri Gate (including the road near the New Delhi Railway Station), Chelmsford Road, Connaught Place, Parliament Street, Red Cross Road, Tughlak Road, Aurobindo Marg and Jor Bagh.
"There is likelihood of slowing down and congestion of traffic along the route of the procession and adjoining roads.
"In addition, due to other local processions, movement of traffic is also likely to be affected on Mathura Road, Maa Anandmai Marg, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, Road No 56, Road No 66, Pankha Road, Palam Dabri Road etc," additional commissioner of police (Traffic) Anil Shukla said.
General public and motorists are advised to avoid the above mentioned routes, co-operate and follow the directions of the traffic policemen posted along the routes of procession to avoid inconvenience, he added.
Those going to New Delhi Railway Station particularly in evening should leave in advance and have sufficient time for possible delay in routes.
For reaching New Delhi Railway Station commuters should avoid Connaught Place and reach Ajmeri Gate side through Tilak Marg, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg or through Rajghat and Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg depending on movement of procession, police said.
(with PTI and IANS inputs)