The violent clashes in east Delhi’s Trilokpuri last week were not communal in nature but were accidentally triggered by five drunken teenagers and sustained by a series of unfortunate events, police said on Monday.
Five FIRs – one for every single day of the clashes that began on Thursday – have been registered as 73 people including 56 policemen were wounded.
The police reports, three of which have been accessed by HT, were based on the “most-quoted version” of testimonies from witnesses, community leaders and elders, police said, reconstructing the chain of events that kicked off on Diwali night.
The five teenagers, three Muslims and two Hindus, were drinking in a car parked near a Mata ki Chowki – a Hindu religious event –close to what used to be a garbage dump at around 8pm on Thursday, the reports said.
“The boys were drinking almost in full public view. So, a few passers-by reprimanded them for consuming alcohol near a place of worship and asked them to leave,” said Sanjay Beniwal, joint commissioner of police (eastern range). “While driving away, one of the boys hurled an empty liquor bottle near the gate of the pandal in retaliation.”
While police say the bottle probably landed near the gate purely by accident, given the fact that the boys were in a moving vehicle at the time, those gathered at the event thought it was deliberate.
A group of Hindu residents then marched up to a local mosque and pelted it with stones which led to minor scuffles and the resulting tension. A contingent of “outside goons” was summoned the next evening following a meeting at the residence of a local politician, who has not been named in any FIR, police said.
These goons, according to a police report, took to rioting on Friday evening – damaging government property and parked vehicles – while Muslim residents ducked inside their homes.
But, a short circuit led to a Muslim trader’s garments shop being gutted on Saturday morning, resulting in members of the community taking to the streets, brandishing country-made weapons and pelting Hindu properties in the area with stones, police said.
The Delhi police chief also appealed to people to not pay attention to rumours and warned against spread of misinformation.