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Riots-more than a law and order problem

The 1984 Sikh massacre in Delhi following the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two Sikh guards is the unhappiest and most painful event. Long back in 1984, November 1, prepared armed mobs freely roamed the streets of Delhi, killing Sikhs and looting their belongings. After so many years, when BJP took over the governance recently, on Diwali night, Trilokpuri exploded once again. While there is no definite 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 is now preparing to set an example of 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 higher politics. In this case, it happened months after the Hindu nationalist BJP swept into power in Delhi with a historic win. Last time there was an allegation that 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 turns, 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 and 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 was anger and frustration at the people’s everyday treatment by 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 is currently making 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. Further, division took place and we see three states. Human love and bonding is very loose. Politicians understand this game and they rule all three independent states with 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 the 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 no human is tortured or killed. Have peace with a new vision of humanity as the sole religion first.

The Mahapanchayat comes 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 Taziya, through a different route was communicated to the local police and authorities a week ago. Locals said 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 given their origins, 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 common public of Delhi’s Trilokpuri are preparing to set an example of communal amity as 30 Hindu volunteers will lead the colony’s Muharram procession today. The Hindu volunteers will be divided, each leading one of the four Muharram processions that will set out from the riot-hit blocks of the east Delhi area that saw 60 people, including policemen, getting injured over three days of violence from Oct 23. Muharram is observed by Muslims to mourn the death of Imam Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed in the battle of Karbala.

Wish this time Trilokpuri gets united leaving all difference and never again fall victim to political stunts.

Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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