Tension gripped Old Delhi's Chawri Bazaar after a fight over parking a scooter snowballed into a confrontation between Hindus and Muslims on Monday, July 1. The trouble began when 20-year-old Aas Mohammad parked his scooter outside a building, which was objected by Sanjeev Gupta, a resident of the building.
Violence broke out and both communities resorted to stone pelting following which a temple was vandalised. Security has been beefed up at Lal Kuan to prevent any flare-up.
Shops remained shuttered in Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar as several areas in Central and Old Delhi remained tense.
"When my husband objected to parking the vehicle near the stall, Mohammad left, but returned with more men who were probably drunk and thrashed him," said Gupta's wife Babita. However, a 27-year-old software engineer, identified as Saqib, narrated a different version. Saqib said that Mohammad his other family members went to the police station and filed a case after he was beaten up.
A number of videos which were doing the rounds on the internet showed a man allegedly being thrashed by some people.
Meanwhile, three separate cases have been filed, according to senior police officers. "One case is based on the statement of the man who tried to park his scooter, the other is of the man who objected to him and the third case is against unknown people for rioting and damaging public property," reports news agency PTI quoting police.
Another individual living in the same area said, "When Mohammad parked his scooter, Gupta asked him to move the vehicle somewhere else or he would set it on fire. A fight then broke out between them. Some people pulled Mohammad inside the building and thrashed him."
Both Mohammad and Gupta, involved in the alleged vandalism, were taken into police custody.
However, the matter didn't resolve after this. "When Mohammad and Gupta were at the police station, some unknown people gathered outside the temple and vandalised it. This led to tension in the area," Saqib said.
The temple priest, Anil Kumar Pandey, said that a mob came to the temple and vandalised it. The two sides reportedly raised slogans, adding fuel to the fire.
Taking to Twitter, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said: "After some altercation & scuffle over a parking issue in Hauz Qazi, tension arose b/w two groups of people from different communities. We have taken legal action & all efforts are being made to pacify feelings & bring about amity. People are requested to help in restoring normalcy (sic)."