Amid protest by scores of followers of dargah Shah-e-Mardana in Jor Bagh's BK Dutt Colony, the police on Monday agreed to open the disputed western gate of the shrine.
However, members of Anjuman-e-Haideri courted arrest demanding quashing of the "false FIR", lodged a fortnight ago for rioting. Maulana Kalbe Jawad, the top Shia cleric from Lucknow, led the agitators. They were detained for the day and released later.
Fifteen days ago, the residential area had witnessed tension after the police stopped devotees from opening the western gate of the dargah.
A case of rioting was filed, a charge denied by Anjuman members. They claimed police firing injured their members.
On Monday, Anjuman secretary Abbas Naqvi said, "We have given an ultimatum of February 3 to quash the false FIR. If not, then we would launch a massive protest at Lucknow and then at Delhi on February 5."
Police said they took all steps possible to maintain law and order. A senior police officer said, "Around 500-600 people were detained and released later. The decision to open the gate was taken after colony residents demanded and the Anjuman people agreed that the gate would be opened only at the time of large congregation and that it would not hamper traffic movement for the colony."
The colony has been witness to similar incidents in the past, too, owing to a dispute over land ownership.
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has already called for tenders for boundary wall. "As per the 2007 High Court, we have called tenders for boundary walls around Qanati Masjid and the Chhoti Karbala," said a senior NDMC official.
However, Muslim intellectuals doubt if this can help. "Boundary wall will only alienate the community. It is not a public land; the land originally belonged to the Wakf Board," said Naved Hamid, member, National Integration Council.
Echoed Akhtarul Wasey, professor, Zakir Hussain Institute of Islamic Studies at Jamia Milia Islamia, "The very name Jor Bagh suggests Wakf ownership. Karbala is a place where Imam Hussain was martyred."
Afroz Alam Sahil, a young activist from the community, said, "First, the police should not open fire for any dispute of any community. Having said that, people should come to think of a long term solution and not hit the road if police try to stop them."