Man ploughs car through narrow, crowded street in Khureji Khas, at least six injured
New Delhi: A man in a speeding car ploughed through the narrow and crowded streets of east Delhi’s Khureji Khas on Wednesday morning, just minutes after hundreds of people had dispersed after taking part in the Eid namaaz outside two mosques in the neighbourhood, police said.
Residents said at least six people sustained injuries, either while trying to evade the Honda City car or while chasing it, prompting rumours of a “terror attack” and “communal conspiracy”. CCTV footage also showed that a four-year-old boy had a narrow escape as he was whisked away a second before the car sped by.
However, Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (eastern range), said the incident was neither a terror attack nor was it communal in nature. He said the driver (who has been identified but his name has not been disclosed by the police) was probably attempting to flee after either hitting a pedestrian or getting into a confrontation with someone.
“The car was reported stolen from Madhu Vihar on May 30. We have identified the suspect but are yet to catch him,” Kumar said.
CCTV footage further showed people running helter-skelter even as a bunch of policemen and residents chased the car. The video showed that the car did not stop even then and people were forced to jump out of its way.
“Had the car entered the neighbourhood five or 10 minutes earlier, many would have died or been seriously injured,” Mohammad Harun, who was left with a bruised leg, said.
The incident led to nearly 400 residents protesting outside the local Jagatpuri police station and some of them pelted stones at a DTC bus. The protesters dispersed only after police assured them that an attempt-to-murder case was registered.
Meghna Yadav, deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara), said only three persons with minor injuries turned up for treatment.
“Some residents and policemen have identified the suspect for us. He was accompanied by his wife and possibly another woman, who was seated in the rear,” Yadav said, while refusing to reveal the suspect’s identity. She only said the man was a Muslim who owned a house in that area but lived elsewhere.
The incident took place around 8.30am after hundreds of devotees began dispersing from the two mosques that are linked by narrow roads with sharp turns.
The police had set up barricades on the main road outside the colony so that vehicles did not enter the streets while the namaaz was on. “As soon as the barricades were lifted after namaaz, the white Honda City zoomed ahead of others and entered the colony. Immediately after that, the driver began going at a rash speed,” Yadav said.
Shabbir, who sells bread at the entrance of the street, recounted that screams of children made him look up. “The driver was neither honking nor applying the brakes. Some residents and policemen were chasing the car while others were hurriedly alerting people to move away,” Shabbir said.
People chased the car for over a kilometre, pelting stones and sticks at it, before it joined the traffic on the main road and sped away.