Delhi Riots: If there was no permission, why did cops accompany Hanuman Jayanti procession?


By Ujwal Jalali New Delhi, April 20 : The communal clashes during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in the national capital on April 16 have left a series of difficult conundrums for the public to understand, making people restive to get the right answers. The police have till now arrested 24 persons, including two juveniles, while one of the arrested person's relatives was bound down for injuring a policeman by pelting stones at him. Delhi Police officials are continuously maintaining that the probe is progressing fast and a fair investigation, without any pressure or prejudices, is underway. Yet, the basic question of what led to the clashes is still open. The facts are -- there was a religious procession, it was passing through a mosque area and then there was stone pelting, firing, and clashes. But what were the circumstances that led to the violence? Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana touched upon the issue during the first media briefing on Monday, two days after the communal clashes, saying: "Your question is what was the reason for provocation. Who started that provocation? This is all part of the investigation. At this juncture I cannot answer this question as the probe is not complete yet," Asthana said. Even though the Delhi Police chief refrained from answering the question, yet the FIR registered by the police points out that the arrested accused Ansar was the one who incited the violence. According to the FIR lodged at the Jahangirpuri police station, the procession was passing off peacefully, but at around 6 p.m., when it reached outside a mosque in C-block, Ansar came with 4-5 associates and started arguing with the participants of the Shobha Yatra. The arguments soon turned violent and both the sides started pelting stones at each other. "I, inspector Rajiv Ranjan Singh, tried to pacify the situation and separated the two groups. However, within some time, they again started pelting stones after which I informed the PCR about the development," read the FIR. Soon after this, more police force reached the spot along with senior officials. Hhowever, by that time the mob had turned violent. They pelted stones at the police and also fired shots at them. One such shot hit a sub-inspector while seven other policemen were injured. The warring camps accused each other of provocation and inciting violence, but what exactly led to the provocation is still not clear. It was not just one procession that passed through the same locality. Rather, it was the third one that ultimately led to the clashes. Special CP (Law and Order), Dependra Pathak, said the first two processions were taken out at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the organisers had taken permission from the police for them. However, the Delhi Police denied permission for a third procession as its organisers had made the request just one day before. But even though there was no permission, the organisers went ahead and took out the procession. According to the officials, police personnel kept a close watch on them. But if there was no permission, why were the police accompanying the procession? The same question was posed by VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal, who rejected the police claim that the procession was taken out by the organisers without any permission. Responding to this pertinent question, Pathak said on Tuesday, "If any situation erupts, if any kind of congregation is there, and if the situation is sensitive, we have to ensure that the situation doesn't worsen and that is the reason that adequate personnel were there to cover it." He added that the Delhi Police had been successful in containing the situation in the minimum possible time with almost no injury to the citizens. Meanwhile, an FIR has been lodged against the organisers of this third Shobha Yatra for taking out the procession without permission. Just 13 days before the clashes, another event -- the Hindu Mahapanchayat Sabha -- was organised in the same north-west district where Dasna Devi temple priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati allegedly made inflammatory speeches against a particular community. Even this event was not allowed by the police, but the organisers went ahead with it. (Ujwal Jalali can be reached at /IANS


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