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.