Tag Archives: Trilokpuri violence

On The Recent Communal Disturbances in Trilokpuri: People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

Guest Post by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S)

NOVEMBER 2, 2014

(Members of P.A.D.S. have been interacting with and visiting residents of Trilokpuri ever since the communal disturbances started on Oct 23. Along with many other citizens we are involved in efforts to re-establish peace and in providing legal aid to those wrongfully arrested. This statement is based on the experiences of P.A.D.S members.)

The inhabitants of Trilokpuri, a densely populated neighbourhood of working people in Delhi, went through a harrowing week after Diwali night on 23 October. A brawl around two places of worship that night proved to be the first event. Although the situation appears to have settled down that night, some motivated planning and mobilisation must have taken place that night itself, because the next day it was a full scale communal clash. Armed mobs from outside the locality are reported to have joined the rioting that involved brick throwing. Firearms were also used and two boys suffered critical bullet injuries.  Inhabitants are emphatic that the police fired into the crowd. The police first denied firing at all. Its latest claim is that it fired only in self defense. One apparel show room owned by a Muslim resident was gutted. Police intervened in force only two days after the clashes started. It turned the neighbourhood into an occupied war-zone. More than fifty men and minor boys were arrested randomly, many picked up forcibly from their houses amid verbal abuse and physical violence. Road intersections were barricaded and entry and exit points were closely monitored. Drones were used in surveillance and houses systematically searched. Essential supplies were in short supply. Daily wage earners, contract workers, and self employed who could not go out lost their source of livelihood. Seriously wounded and ill had no access to medical aid. While the entire neighbourhood suffered in one form or another, inhabitants of three blocks in particular, nos 15, 27 and 28, and attached  jhuggi clusters, mainly occupied by citizens who are Muslims bore the brunt of police action.

Thirty Years On (from November, 1984): Jaspreet Singh

Kafila normally never publishes poems. But sometimes, we make an exception. Because poetry give voice to memory in ways that prose can’t always. And because we must never forget November, 1984.

Guest Post by Jaspreet Singh

30 YEARS ON

One hears that the grass has grown again

and old domes have been plated

with gold. Children of ashened fathers

have acquired autos and crystals, and Lutyens’

stones have bloomed

Continue reading Thirty Years On (from November, 1984): Jaspreet Singh

Witness Account of the Trilokpuri Clashes on October 25, 2014: A.M

AM, a journalist,  writes on Sabrang. Excerpts below and link to the whole piece at the end.

I with a colleague of mine reached East Delhi’s Trilokpuri by 12:00 pm on Saturday. News about alleged clashes had reached us late on Friday night. We were told that the clashes had broken out at around 8:00 pm on Friday but no one was visibly injured. Bricks and empty beer bottles were hurled to and fro interspersed with occasional gunshots. The police reached the area and restored calm. Heavy police presence in the area restored confidence and sent people back into their homes. This is what we had heard.

When we reached the spot on Saturday afternoon at around 12:00 pm, both of us happened to walk right into a mob which had assembled on the main road. Then they started hurling bricks into the air, upped with roaring jubilation and thrill. All at a physical enemy that was not visible. Terrified and taken by surprise, we ducked and ran over to a nearby car parked by the curb. We crouched behind it for over five minutes till we could run farther down to a relatively deserted and safer stretch next to a mother dairy kiosk. That was only one of the many such walk-ins we had and had walked in and out of…

This senseless and directionless fury, we realised, was being whipped up for the fun of it. And, as journalists, we sensed individual families had gathered ammunition, mainly bricks and beer bottles, over the night for a final showdown on Saturday morning. A couple of hours later, my colleague followed a rag picker collecting in a sack bricks strewn over various roads. He saw the rag picker climb into a house and he heard him saying, “Chalo bhai, aaj ke raat ka intezaam ho gaya hai.”…

The atrocities started when policemen began arbitrarily searching houses and rounding perpetrators in the absence of clean evidence or proof. Almost 1000 persons were actively involved in the stone throwing and no one knows which blocks they belonged to and where they had walked to to participate in the violence. Police, clueless and worked up, therefore, randomly began banging on closed doors and shoving their lathis into houses to drive fear and establish control over residents. Most of these houses, however, happened to be in Muslim dominated areas especially in Blocks 14 and 27. The Indian Express reported that “the police have arrested 44 people — 32 Muslims and 12 Hindus” on charges of rioting as listed in the FIRs. This despite Trilokpuri comprising 80 per cent Hindus ( Balmikis) and 20 per cent Muslims. Lopsided statistics and arrests say much about what was happening on the ground…

I was witness to how the Delhi police, had brazenly, in view of  journalists, albeit without cameras employed anarchic, illegal arrests, communal and extrajudicial tactics to impose what they call ‘law and order’- a phrase which constantly equivocates with us, we who lie on the “clean” side of law and those who live outside its underbelly.

READ THE WHOLE ACCOUNT HERE.