Iconoclasm & Aftermath
   08-Jul-2019
Temple vandalism with war cry of ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the Chandni Chawk area of Delhi, where Hindus are a minority, was nothing but the furtherance of intolerant theological belief called Iconoclasm - the act of the destruction of icons and images for religious or political reasons
Special Correspondent
On the night of June 30, a group of communally charged Muslims, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and hurling abuses at Hindus, barged into a street of Lal Kuan near Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi and vandalised a Durga temple. The violent mob vandalised the lone temple in the Muslim dominated area, where the Hindus are a minuscule minority, desecrated idols, damaged vehicles and abducted a minor Hindu boy, terrorising the entire street. A series of incidents of violence and riots, following a minor scuffle between a local Hindu resident and a Muslim man, left the handful of Hindus living in the area, numbed, panicked and dejected.
 
 
Muslim mob vandalised the Durga Temple, desecrated the idols and abducted a minor Hindu boy from Lal Kuan, Chandni Chowk
 
However, the mainstream media chose to call it a ‘communal clash’ and reported vaguely about the ‘communal flare-up in Chandni Chowk’ without getting into their usual threadbare analysis to draw a line between victims and perpetrators.
 
Islamic extremism ran riot in Lal Kuan on the intervening night of June 30. Organiser was among the first media outlets to reach the spot and report the gravity of the incident from the ground. It all started with a parking row when Sanjeev Gupta, a local resident, objected to a man, Aas Mohammad, parking vehicle outside his house. Aas Mohammad left the place soon after 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 Gupta. “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,” Smt Babita Gupta, wife of Sanjeev Gupta told the media.
 
Temple Vandalised, Idols Desecrated
Durga Mandir Lane, the only area where Hindus live – some 30 families, according to the local residents – is surrounded by Muslim-populated colonies such as Farash Khana, Chabuk Sawaar Gali, Katra Sheikh Chand, Ballimaran and Hamdard Safakhana. The entrance of the narrow-congested-dark street opens on to a Durga Temple, adorned with a row of idols locked inside glass panels on the sidewalls of the lane. It is the lone Hindu temple in the locality, the only place of worship for Hindus.
 
 Sanjeev Gupta after the attack
 
The residents say the Muslim goons also shouted political slogans, saying “Modi Murdabad, Hamara Imran Hussain Zindabad, Kejriwal Zindabad!” The local Hindus had no idea why they were being assaulted. But they knew the goons were from the Muslim community and they were targeting the 100-year-old temple. “We were alarmed after hearing the slogans so we did not open the door. Later, we came to know that our Temple had been desecrated. We saw the broken glasses and idols, and a heap of stones and sticks,” a local resident recalls.
 
Mob Abducts a Minor Hindu Boy!
In a major twist in the story, a 17-year-old Hindu boy has gone missing from the place on the intervening night that was hitherto unreported by any media even 30 hours after the incident took place! 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 teenager. 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. The Hauz Qazi police have also confirmed to Organiser that they had received a complaint and they have registered an FIR.
 
Heaving a sigh of relief, Sangeet returned after three days, only after undergoing brutal mental and physical tortures. His only sin was he belongs to a Hindu family that refused to migrate from Lal Kuan like others. Sangeet was attacked after he was asked if he was a Hindu and he stayed in the locality! He managed to escape after an elderly person managed to rescue him.
 
‘They Want to Drive us Away’
A local resident said hardly a hundred Hindus are living there. Most of the shop owners in the region are Hindus but they opted to migrate from the place due to persistent communal violence and threats. “This sort of incidents happens every year. Every time, we complain to the Police but nothing happens. No media have covered our plight till now,” laments Sanjay, a local resident who rides an autorickshaw to earn his livelihood. He believes that it is a part of a larger conspiracy to drive the remaining handful of Hindus out of the street so that ‘they’ can capture the entire area!
 
According to a senior journalist who lived nearby, Hindus densely populated the area until three-four decades ago. But constant communal violence accelerated their migration. “Hindus are now forced to leave Lal Kuan as no one wants to live their life on the verge of fear. Certain groups of people want to take over the area and we fall prey to their tricks and tactics. They have won to an extent to create fear psychosis among Hindus and drive them away,” said a Hindu businessman who runs a shop owned by his family since 1951 in Chandni Chowk, a stone throw away from Hauz Qazi.
 
Speaking to media, VHP working president Advocate Alok Kumar said the area is dominated by Muslims but Hindus are doing the business. "They want the Hindus to leave the area for which they are indulging in such acts. The closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera has recorded the incident and we have the proof," added Shri Alok Kumar.
 
Meanwhile, the Muslims living in the area refused to speak on camera. However, according to reports, a group of Muslims claimed that they did not desecrate the Temple at all. According to them, the Hindus desecrated the Durga Mandir themselves just to victimise the Muslims! But the videos of the mob shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “Naara-e-Takbeer” attacking temple shot on mobile are still taking a round on social media, an undeniable evidence that no one can ignore.
 
“It Happens Every Year” “It happens every year. When mobs shout ‘Allahu Akbar’
outside for no reason, we cannot sleep on that night. They deliberately create trouble and threaten our children that push our street on the verge of communal riots every year. Many families, including mine, are seriously thinking about migrating to some other place,” a woman told Organiser. The residents are saying in same voice that the police did not come to their rescue even this time. The police reached the spot after an hour or more despite several phone calls, even though the Hauz Qazi Police Station is just a few hundred metres away. “The police have removed the debris of the vandalised temple, idols and pieces of glasses. That is all they did,” a local resident said. The Hindus in the area are not allowed to hold religious functions on roadsides while the Muslims occupy the entire streets on their festival. “Police don’t give us permission. We have to be careful with our crackers on Diwali and water colours on Holi while they roam with swords on Muharram without any fear,” a resident told a media.
 
Shri Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, reportedly summoned Delhi Police chief. After the meeting, the Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik said the situation is normal in Hauz Qazi. However, as of July 4, only four persons were arrested in connection with the incident, while not less than hundred people were involved in the series of violence and riots. A delegation of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) called on Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on June 2 and sought the arrest of all those involved in vandalising the temple. "We have given four days' time to the police to arrest the culprits who vandalised the temple, failing which the VHP will be free to take the matter in its own hands," said Shri Alok Kumar. He also said the entire episode is nothing but a conspiracy to create communal tension in the area.