Amit Shah summons police chief, six held for clashes in Delhi
Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday met Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik and sought details of the clashes between Hindu and Muslim residents in Old Delhi’s Lal Kuan in which three people were injured and a roadside temple was allegedly desecrated on Sunday night.
Senior government officials, who did not wish to be identified, said Shah called Patnaik in the morning and asked him for a briefing on the police action in the aftermath of the clashes. During the day, the police caught six more people, including four juveniles, who were allegedly involved in the violence and desecration of the temple.
A fight over parking a scooter on Sunday night snowballed into communal tension in Lal Kuan near Chawri Bazar as groups of Hindu and Muslim residents accused each other of stone throwing and engaging in violence. Two persons who were involved in the parking row and a photo journalist from a Hindi daily sustained minor injures.
While no fresh violence was reported on Wednesday, Delhi police and paramilitary forces fortified the area with at least 200 security personnel stationed in the neighbourhood.
Patnaik spoke to reporters after meeting Shah. “I have briefed him about the situation. The situation is normal in the area now.”
In response to a question about only a “few arrests” having been made when CCTV footage showed many people in the area on the evening of the clash, he said, “Our teams are working on it. They (the troublemakers) will be identified and they will be arrested.”
Following the meeting, the police chief asked his officers to form multiple teams and identify those who had been captured in videos recorded by cell phones and a CCTV camera. Six more were caught during the day. Until Tuesday night, police had arrested two men and apprehended a 17-year-old for allegedly desecrating the temple.
Police have also seized cell phone videos of the clashes and are identifying the troublemakers. Also on Wednesday, a video clip of Aam Aadmi Party MLA Imran Hussain was circulated on social media, which showed the legislator among a group of persons shouting slogans. Hindustan Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the video. Also, it was not clear when the video had been shot.
The video showed Hussain with a mob that is shouting slogans. Police refused to comment on the video but Hussain said that he had gone to the spot late Sunday night after receiving a request from the police.
“Senior police officials were present there and in their presence, I was appealing to people to maintain peace. I visited the spot for three consecutive days. I met people from both communities. I have cooperated with the police, peace committee members and residents in the locality, with whom I also held several meetings. It is my duty to ensure peace and harmony in the locality,” said Hussain, who is also the MLA from the area. Hussain said he had filed a complaint against BJP leaders for accusing him of instigating the mob.
Suspended Aam Aadmi Party leader Kapil Mishra, in a Twitter post, demanded Hussain’s arrest and sought an explanation from chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, too, demanded Hussain’s arrest.