Residents of Jahangirpuri in north-west Delhi on Tuesday celebrated Eid under the watchful eyes of a heavy contingent of the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces. The celebrations remained peaceful with children attired in new clothes mingling freely with the police personnel, residents exchanging gifts and hugs, and neighbours partaking of festive community meals.
The hustle and bustle returned to the neighbourhood as vendors and small shops took over the roadsides, hawking festive goodies. But authorities kept the main road between Kushal Cinema and Kali Bari Mandir sealed and deployed a posse of personnel.
Jahangirpuri saw violence between Hindus and Muslims during the Hanuman Jayanti procession on April 16 and subsequently, an anti-encroachment drive was conducted by the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation on April 20. The demolition drive was stopped the same day on the orders of the Supreme Court and Jahangirpuri has remained by and large peaceful since then.
With the front entrance to the C-Block Jama Masjid closed off due to the road barricading -- the mosque’s outer compound wall was demolished during the drive -- Muslims used the rear entrance to enter and offer the Eid namaz. Several residents said they prayed for peace and harmony to return to the area, even as they admitted that there is a bit of resentment among locals as many are still being picked up by police for interrogation into the violence.
A senior Delhi Police officer said people need not be anxious as anyone who was not involved in the violence will not be arrested. Jahangir Ali, 35, a resident, said the situation is far better than what it was around 10 to 15 days ago. “Everyone is happy and celebrating Eid... There is no acrimony between the two communities. It is the outsiders who tried to disrupt our harmony,” Ali said.
He said there is a bit of panic and unease over local youth being picked up for questioning: “There is also uncertainty that only one community is being targeted.” Police too did their bit to join in the festivities. Special commissioner of police Dependra Pathak, deputy commissioner of police (north-west) Usha Rangrani and the women personnel of the paramilitary battalion could be seen meeting and clicking pictures with children in the violence hit area. Residents reciprocated by treating them to sweets and goodies. Pathak said adequate force has been deployed in the locality.
“We have improved the situation here by engaging with the residents. People are observing Eid in total peace and life has returned to the normalcy,” he said.