For residents of Sonia Vihar, it was the alleged murder of 20-year-old Kamal Singh Rawat that pushed them over the edge.
After being allegedly bullied around by a group of goons for years, the residents decided to take matters into their own hands. The same group of goons reputedly killed Kamal over personal enmity.
On Tuesday morning, a group of Sonia Vihar residents barged into the houses of Umesh and his friends Praveen and Bachchan Nagar, Jagat and two of his relatives and vandalised them. The angry mob set three houses on fire.
All four are accused in Kamal's murder.
While the mob vandalised the houses, the police stood mute spectators to the rampage. The residents claim that the four are known bad characters of the area, and have been disturbing the peace and creating nuisance in the neighbourhood for long.
"Today they killed Kamal, tomorrow it could be my son who they might kill. We had to throw them out of the locality. This was the only way possible," said Karambir Singh Dangwal, a resident.
Kamal's family, however, claimed to have no involvement in the incident. "We were not involved in inciting the crowd. The residents were tired of the atrocities the killers of my son have committed. My son's death gave them a reason to hit back. But my family stayed away from all this," said Balam Singh Rawat, Kamal's father.
According to the police, the incident began at around 9.30 a.m. when groups of people started gathering outside the houses of the accused. "They started off by shouting slogans against the accused. Very soon things got out of hand. They entered the houses of all the accused almost simultaneously and starting setting them on fire. They also looted things from the house," said a senior police officer in the condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The mob even stormed into locked houses and dragged furniture and items out to set them afire. At Bachchan Nagar's house, the mob dragged out one of his brothers and beat him as well. He was however rescued by the police.
The police sent as many as five companies of reserve police and Rapid Action Force to contain the mob. The situation could only be brought under control by noon.
The police have registered cases of rioting and vandalising against unknown people. They are trying to nab the people behind the incident.
Kamal, a third-year B.Com student at North Campus's Khalsa College, was abducted on Monday from near Nankasar Gurudwara in E-Block, Sonia Vihar. The four accused reportedly thrashed and stabbed him multiple times before they left him to die near Usmanpur jungles.
The four accused were arrested late on Tuesday.