A group of communally charged Muslim men vandalised a Hindu temple in Lal Kuan, near Chawri Bazar in Old Delhi on Monday. It all started with a parking row when Sanjeev Kumar, a local resident, objected to a man, Aas Mohammad, parking vehicle outside his house. Aas Mohammad left the place soon following a heated argument and minor scuffle.
But a few minutes later, 20-25 men carrying sticks barged into the first floor of the house and began thrashing Sanjeev Kumar. “When my three children and I intervened, they assaulted us as well. They did not spare my 80-year-old mother-in-law who is a heart patient,” said Babita, wife of Sanjeev Kumar, to media.
In a major twist in the story, a 17-year-old Hindu boy has gone missing from the place on the intervening night.
Speaking to Organiser, the parents of the boy alleged that the group of Muslims who attacked the temple, barged into their place and abducted their son after creating an atmosphere of terror. Sangeet Saxena (name changed) was abducted from the vicinity of the temple, where the family lives.
“My son is a teenage boy. Still, they beat him up very badly. Despite my strong resistance, they took him away and I do not know his whereabouts,” Sangeet’s mother told Organiser.
“We have searched for him everywhere but could not find. His phone is also switched off. I filed a petition at the Hauz Qazi police station but they did not act upon it promptly,” she added.
The Hauz Qazi police have confirmed to Organiser that they have received a complaint and the police have launched an FIR. “The probe is on and we will soon find out the whereabouts of the boy,” a senior official told to Organiser.
The entire area of Lal Kuan is under tight police security. Strong contingents of Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel armed with anti-riot gear have been deployed in the area. Police barricades were also put on the main road at Lal Kuan. The local traffic is also partially blocked. Half of the shops, mainly the ones that owned by Hindus, remain shut. The residents were asked to remain indoors until the situation was brought under control.
According to local residents, around 12.30am on Monday, a large group of Muslim men entered the line, just opposite to the house of Sanjeev Kumar and vandalised the Durga temple in the vicinity and desecrated the idols.
Speaking to media, son of the temple’s priest said, “Around midnight, a group of men entered our lane and started damaging two-wheelers parked there. By the time residents of the lane came out, they noticed that the group had left after vandalising the temple.”
A local resident said that there are hardly a hundred Hindus are staying there. Most of the shop owners in the region are Hindus but they choose to migrate from the place due to persistent communal threats. “This sort of incidents happens every year. Every time, we complain to the police but nothing will happen,” Sanjay, a local resident who rides an autorickshaw to earn his livelihood.
A CCTV camera installed near the temple captured the visuals of the assailants. Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, the spokesperson of the BJP, Delhi, told the Organiser that it was an attack on the faith of Hindus and all those assailants in the CCTV footage should be booked under National Security Act (NSA). "We have already raised this matter with the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs," he added.
Meanwhile, the temple has been temporarily restored. The bricks, stones and pieces of glasses of the temple shutter and remnants of idols were collected by the police. A separate FIR has been registered regarding the temple’s vandalism at the Hauz Qazi police station. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised a protest at Lal Kuan on Tuesday.