Opinion | Jahangirpuri: Rioters must not be spared

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Opinion | Jahangirpuri: Rioters must not be spared

Even as the Centre booked five main accused of the Delhi Jahangirpuri riots under stringent provisions of the National Security Act, there was tension on Wednesday morning as North Delhi Municipal Corporation sent nine bulldozers to raze illegal encroachments made in the locality. Heavy police deployment was made in Jahangirpuri.

 
The anti-encroachment drive was however stopped after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India directed that “status quo” be maintained. The bulldozers stopped razing the encroachments two hours after the SC order was passed.
 
The anti-encroachment drive was ordered by municipal authorities after Delhi state BJP chief Adesh Gupta wrote a letter to North MCD Mayor demanding that all “illegal encroachments made by rioters should be identified and bulldozers should demolish them.” In his letter, the state BJP chief alleged, “these anti-social elements and rioters have the support of local AAP MLA and Councillor, and as a result of these, these people have done large-scale encroachment.”
 
Hundreds of policemen in riot gear surrounded the locality, as nine bulldozers started razing illegal encroachments in Jahangirpuri. This was the place where communal violence had broken out on Saturday evening during the Hanuman Jayanti procession, which was followed by stoning, clashes and arson.
 
The five main accused who have been booked under the stringent National Security Act are Ansar Sheikh, Salim Chikna, Sonu alias Imam Sheikh, Dilshad and Aheed. FIR filed by Delhi Police says, Ansar came with his four to five associates and started arguing with the organizers of the Hanuman Jayanti Shobha Yatra. The FIR said, the argument soon turned violent and stones were pelted from both sides. Following the FIR, the Home Ministry decided to take stringent action under NSA against the rioters. Sonu alias Imam Sheikh has been sent to four days of police custody. He has admitted that he took the pistol from Ghulam Rasool alias Gulli, who has also been arrested.
 
Delhi Police teams have seized nearly 500 videos related to the violence. One of the videos clearly shows stones, bricks and glass bottles being rained on the ‘rath’ of Lord Hanuman near Kushal Chowk. Another video relates to the time preceding the violence, which makes it clear who started the violence. Another video shows, lathis, swords and guns being brandished by rioters.
 
The first video clearly shows stones and bottles being thrown on Lord Hanuman’s ‘rath’(chariot). There is a voice in the background saying, “chacha yeh theek nahin ho raha hai” (uncle, this is not fair). Sounds of glass bottles striking on the road are heard. Two persons tried their best to take the idol of Lord Hanuman, amidst the rain of stones and glass bottles.
 
The video clearly shows who were throwing stones and bottles. In another video, there is the sound of somebody firing a pistol. It shows nearly a thousand strong mob coming on the road in C Block(a Muslim dominated locality). A few policemen are unable to take control of the evolving situation as the mob turns wild and violent. The mob of rioters forces its way through the police human chain barrier, amidst shouting of slogans, and the call of ‘azaan’ is heard from the nearby mosque.
 
In another video, the mob melts away as large enforcement of police equipped with weapons arrives on the scene. By that time, stoning continued from the terraces of nearby buildings. Dusk was setting in and the rioters continued to throw stones and bottles at police in the dark. Another video shows police firing tear gas shells at buildings, to deter the rioters from throwing stones and bottles. Gunfire is heard from a distance.
 
These videos prove one point. It was alleged that Hanuman Jayanti participants tried to hoist the saffron flag on the mosque, and people who had offered ‘namaaz’ opposed it, leading to violence. This allegation now stands rubbished. The chain of sequences in these videos clearly shows that it was pre-planned communal violence. There was no clash near the mosque, and the ‘Shobha yatra’ had already crossed the mosque. Till that time, there was peace in the locality, but trouble began at Kushal Chowk when stoning began.
 
The videos also nail the lie that those who took part in the procession were the first to throw stones. The fact is: Stoning began from the Muslim locality at the procession. Two Hanuman Jayanti processions had already passed during the day peacefully and not a stone was thrown. The evening procession was the target, the chariot was broken, and both the idol and chariot now lie on the local temple premises. There is panic among local residents.
 
In my show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night, we showed a vital video dated April 15 at 2.11 am (past midnight). In this CCTV video, rioters were collecting lathis, meant to be used during the violence. Police are now identifying these miscreants. In order to maintain peace, Delhi Police has divided Jahangirpuri into five sectors. Sector 1 is from Kushal Chowk to the road leading to the mosque, Sector 2 is the road leading to G Block, Sector 3 is where the arson took place, Sector 4 is the road leading to C Block, and Sector 5 is the area right in front of the mosque.
 
A look now at the criminal profile of riot mastermind Ansar Sheikh. This 40-year-old man was booked in 2009 under Arms Act. He was booked in three cases from 2011 to 2019 under the Gambling Act, and in 2013 he was booked under sections 509, 323 and 509 of IPC. In July 2018, he was booked under sections 186 and 353 (attacking government servants and obstructing govt work).
 
A scrap dealer by profession, he has studied till Class four. A resident of C Block, Ansar has a criminal record of forcibly collecting parking charges, and indulging in gambling and drugs trade. His earnings per month run into several lakhs of rupees. He has been carrying out extortions under the guise of protection money. Sources said, a call went from the mosque to Ansar on Sturdy evening, and when he reached there with his associates, an argument ensued and this was followed by violence. Police sources say Ansar may be getting funds from secret sources.
 
A native of Haldia, West Bengal, Ansar was born in 1980 in Jahangirpuri C Block. He has connections with Muslim families living in Nooh, Mewat of Haryana. About his luxury cars, sources said, he had financed somebody and in return, he had kept the debtor’s BMW car with him for some time. Ansar might be hiding his luxury cars and properties, sources said. He has a fake Facebook profile in the name of Raj Malhotra in which he has posted pictures of himself holding a gun, wearing gold ornaments, posing near luxury cars and showing wads of currency notes. Police is probing why Ansar posted a fake Hindu profile on Facebook.
 
Now that the videos clearly establish that, as part of a pre-planned conspiracy, the Hanuman Jayanti procession was surrounded and stones, bricks and glass bottles were thrown at the participants. While Muslim leaders allege, that no permission was taken for the procession, Hindu leaders question whether stones will be thrown at them if they bring out a procession without prior permission. Hindu leaders point out that Muslims perform ‘namaaz’ on roads without taking prior permission, but Hindus never stoned the devotees.
 
Muslim leaders allege that those who took part in Hanuman Jayanti were brandishing swords, but Hindu leaders say, they were artificial and ornamental weapons used during Ramlila. The arguments from both sides are endless but the moot question is whether this was the result of a big conspiracy? Were the rioters inciting to attack the procession? Since the police are thoroughly carrying out their probe, we should wait for the result.
 
Delhi Police has put its entire force on alert. Forces are being deployed at the slightest indication of communal tension. Drones are being used to keep a watch on miscreants. Peace committees have been issuing appeals to all sections not to spread baseless rumours and lies. An appeal was also issued from the Jama Masjid of Jahangirpuri on Tuesday. Police have asked community leaders to inform if anybody was spreading baseless rumours on social media. This is a good initiative. I think it will have a good impact.
 
The rioters have been booked under NSA, and the probe into a larger conspiracy is on. Police have already identified all those who took part in violence. But all those who have been rounded up are not disclosing who were the people who instigated them, and who provided the weapons. Islamic outfit PFI has been named in the probe, but it will take time to collect evidence. The Centre is not going to spare anybody and already stringent action is being taken. The truth will soon come out. Whether the rioter is a Hindu or a Muslim, action must be taken against the person.  

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