A part of Central Delhi has remained tense after Sunday's clash between Hindus and Muslims and vandalism at a temple. Three people, including a minor, have been arrested since last night over the violence in Old Delhi's Hauz Qazi, which started as an altercation over parking space. Over 1000 security personnel - police and Central Reserve Police Forces -- have been deployed in the area. Shops have been shut since Sunday and the locals have held a peace march.
Around 10.30 pm on Sunday, Sanjeev Gupta, a fruit seller, got into an argument with one Aas Mohammad, who parked outside his house. Aas Mohammad left, but returned with more people and attacked Sanjiv Gupta's house.
Mr Gupta informed the police and both he and Aas Mohammad were called for questioning.
Soon, a crowd gathered outside the Hauz Qazi police station, demanding Mohammad's release. This group then went and attacked a temple in the area where they vandalised some statues.
"We saw there were several people in the temple in the darkness. Some had pistols and others had weapons like knives.
We called up the police. But by the time they came, the miscreants had broken statues and set curtains on fire. They broke almost half the statues," said Rinku, an eyewitness.
On Monday, groups from both communities held protests, demanding action.
The locals claim the vandalism had been committed by outsiders.
"I have been living here for 50 years... Everybody lives with love, both Muslims and Hindus," said 50-year-old Swami Chandra Das.
The temple attack, he said, "doesn't look like an act of people from this area". An altercation between two individuals "would have ended between two individuals," he added.
The Delhi Police have registered three First Information Reports in this case -- two cross FIRs from both individuals over the parking quarrel. The third was over the vandalism at the temple.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the third case, and accused of rioting. The police, however, refused to divulge details about them.
Security has been tightened in the area to prevent any untoward incident. Mandeep Singh Randhawa, a senior police officer, tweeted: "After some altercation & scuffle over a parking issue in Hauz Qazi, tension arose b/w two groups of people from different communities. We have taken legal action &all efforts are being made to pacify feelings &bring about amity. People are requested to help in restoring normalcy."
Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who represents Chandni Chowk in parliament, visited the area this morning.
"It is very unfortunate and painful. The kind of things done to the temple is unforgivable," he said. "I have been told that the police is already in action. The culprits will be arrested soon and punished. I appeal to the people to maintain harmony," he added.
"The incident of vandalisation of Durga temple and violence by anarchic elements in Old Delhi is condemnable and utterly shameful," Congress'' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted in Hindi. "Delhi''s law and order is in the hands of Home Minister Amit Shah and is the responsibility of the BJP government," he said.
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