12:40 am - Tuesday August 20, 2019

Delhi’s Bawana Tense on Muharram, Police Keeping a Close Watch

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NEW DELHI – There is massive police deployment in northwest Delhi’s Bawana to prevent any communal flare-up on Muharram, being observed today.

The area has been tense after provocative posters were put up and speeches were made at a “Mahapanchayat” or meeting on Sunday – attended by a BJP legislator Gugan Singh Ranga and a Congress councilor, Devender Kumar – calling for a change in the route of the Taziya procession that will be taken out today as part of Muharram, which marks the death of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson in the battle of Karbala.

The route has been changed, Delhi police chief BS Bassi said.
The police said they have posted hundreds of personnel, including commando teams, in the area today and are keeping a close watch on the situation. Senior officials are reportedly in touch with community leaders to ensure there is no spread of rumours or panic.

Mr Bassi told NDTV, “We are keeping a close eye on Bawana, Trilokpuri and other sensitive areas. We had information a month back regarding tension prevailing in the area (Bawana) and preventive steps were taken. We are in touch with peace committees.”

In Trilokpuri, across town, which witnessed communal clashes during Diwali, Hindus will lead Muslim processions for Muharram today, in a show of harmony aimed at calming tempers.

Hindu volunteers have offered to lead Muharram processions and Muslims have accepted, said lawyer C Adhi Kesawan, a member of an “Aman or peace Committee” set up after the rioting in Trilokpuri, in which 60 people were injured.

The processions will reportedly set out from the riot-hit blocks of the east Delhi area, that is still tense after three days of communal violence less than a fortnight ago.

Mr Bassi said such peace committees had been set up in Bawana too. “Aman committees were formed by the police to bring both sides to the table. It succeeded and the route has been changed. I would request everyone to avoid rumour-mongering or it will be dealt with strongly,” he said.

Residents of a Bawana village where mostly Hindu families stay, had complained that the Muharram procession blocks a key road and affects their business.

The Delhi Police have been criticised for allowing the Mahapanchayat, despite warning signs in pamphlets that had been in circulation for a week.

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