Had additional police forces reached in time, Saturday's clashes in Jamia Nagar could have been averted.
Senior officers said that police forces rushed to the area could not enter Jamia Nagar's narrow bylanes because of chaotic traffic on Mathura road. "There was a delay in the forces reaching the spot due to heavy traffic and people had also blocked roads," said Anil Shukla, DCP (south).
Seven policemen were left to defend themselves when a mob of at least a hundred attacked the Jamia Nagar police post, torching it and vandalising police vehicles.
With limited ammunition, the policemen locked themselves inside the post to save them from the wrath of the mob.
Those rushing to their help showed rare courage. Inspector BS Rana, posted at the Okhla Police Station, who was the first one to reach the post as soon as he heard a wireless message, did not halt his jeep even though it had caught fire.
"He fired ten rounds in the air to disperse the mob. When he ran out of bullets, he took a wooden stick and started hitting on a cooler to give an impression that bullets were being fired to scare away the mob," said a police officer.
The police said that the clashes took place on rumours spread deliberately by some miscreants. "Had it not been for the rumours, the situation would not have turned so bad. We have arrested about 14 people and are probing their role," added Shukla.
After torching the Jamia Nagar
, a mob torched the Shaheen Bagh police post nearby. "Two cooks who were inside the police post were locked from outside and the police post was set on fire. They broke open the windows from the other end and ran for their lives," said a police officer at Shaheen Bagh.
Constable Satpal said he was attacked despite being close to a posse of paramilitary forces.