he 1984 Sikh massacre in Delhi following the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two Sikh guards is the unhappiest and most painful event. Long back, on November 1, 1984, prepared armed mobs freely roamed the streets of Delhi, killing Sikhs and looting their belongings. After so many years, when BJP took over to power, on Diwali night, Trilokpuri exploded once again. While there is no definitive answer to what led to the flare-up between the Hindus and Muslims, several reasons have been doing the rounds in the media since the news broke. Just days after being hit by communal riots that injured at least 60 persons, Trilokpuri prepared to set an example in communal amity with members of the Hindu community set to lead the area’s four Muharram processions. History of communal violence in India demonstrates that it is closely connected with turning points in high politics. In this case, it happened months after the Hindu nationalist BJP swept into power in Delhi with a historic win. There is not a shred of evidence to link the party to the violence but Historian Mukul Kesavan wonders whether “Hindu activists are testing the waters, testing the limits of the politically possible in the wake of the election”.
All Muslims need to be careful and safe during Muharram — there was an allegation that the Muslims objected to loudspeakers being played at Mata Ki Chowki which is next to a mosque; the riots were a “pre-planned” act; the Delhi Police’s inaction allowed a minor incident to take such ugly extents, and there was a political design behind the flare-up. It’s time we should stop seeing riots as a simple law and order problem. Instead, authorities should go beyond a specific event and try to identify the deeper causes that lead to such blazes. There could be several such causes: discrimination, poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, poor healthcare, housing inadequacy, police brutality, and bias. After the 2011 race riots in Britain, the London School of Economics and the Guardian did a full-scale study — Reading the Riots — of the flare-up and their aftermath. Several of the ‘conditions’ that lead to riots could be true for India too. Take, for example, the relation between certain (especially poor) communities and the police: in the race-riot areas in Britain, researchers found out that there were anger and frustration at the people’s everyday treatment of police. In Trilokpuri, many parents claimed that they took part in the violence to save their sons from police brutality.
Trilokpuri, a sprawling resettlement colony in East Delhi which once made headlines because of the Diwali-eve communal riots, witnessed the mass murder of Sikhs in 1984. Indian politics is based on hatred. This hatred divided the great nation. The further division took place and we see three states. Human love and bonding is very loose. The politicians understand this game and they rule all three independent states with the same theory of divide and rule. Alas! No more noble to play a role of togetherness with love and brotherhood of human being. The world powers are engaged in the same game and world is bleeding with hatred against each other for the sake of power and energy resources. Poor human is afraid of bombs. Even media is hostage to these people. We pray that none of the humans is tortured or killed. Have peace with a new vision of human religion first.
The Mahapanchayat came close on the heels of communal tensions in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri area, even as locals in Bawana said that the change in traditional routes and the decision to take the Muharram procession, also known as Tajiya, through a different route was communicated to the local police and authorities a week ago before the festival. Locals said that the Muslim community on October 24 had come to a consensus on not taking the procession through the usual 2 km route passing through Hindu dominated areas fearing a communal backlash.
Kalyanpuri and Trilokpuri have something in common. They are both emigration colonies created by Mrs. Gandhi to house people displaced by the slum ‘clearances’ that the Congress government masterminded during the Emergency under the direction of Jagmohan and Sanjay Gandhi. Many of the Muslims in Trilokpuri were resettled there when the Turkman Gate bastis were violently cleared. As John Dayal and Ajoy Bose wrote in their book, Delhi Under the Emergency, these resettlement colonies weren’t model neighbourhoods with neat plots, drainage, water supply, schools, playgrounds, parks, and electricity as Sanjay Gandhi claimed: they were tracts of empty land where people literally bulldozed out of their slums were dumped. The thing to remember about these hardscrabble neighbourhoods is that their residents weren’t citizens; they were desperately poor clients dependent on the State and its political operatives for every basic facility and amenity. Nothing was theirs by right; even more, than in the rest of India, their lives depended on the vagaries of local politics and their access patronage and ‘protection’.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union staged a demonstration at Delhi Police headquarters raising concerns over the role of Delhi Police in the Trilokpuri riots. The protesters alleged that even after riots broke out, cops failed to take action for hours and in the days that followed arbitrary arrests have only intensified the atmosphere of fear and tension in the area.
Politicians and politics may try to divide people and initiate riots, but the common public of Delhi’s Trilokpuri always try to set an example in communal amity. Muharram is observed by Muslims to mourn the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad in the battle of Karbala.
Wish Trilokpuri remains united leaving all difference and never again fall victim to the political stunts.
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