About 200 residents of Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area took part in a “tiranga yatra” on Sunday evening to send out a message of communal harmony eight days after violence erupted there, The Hindu reported.
Both Hindus and Muslims held up the tricolour and shouted “Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai Aapas Mein Hai Bhai Bhai [Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, we are all brothers]” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
Police personnel remained deployed in the area, but authorities on Sunday removed several barricades and scaled down security measures, The Indian Express reported.
The march began from C Block, where many shops had been demolished by civic authorities last week. It later moved towards the Hindu-dominated G Block and ended after about 30 minutes.
Many shops and homes in the area also hoisted the tricolour during the march.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North West) Usha Rangnani said that the police had set up a peace committee comprising both Hindus and Muslims, ANI reported. “They proposed to organise a ‘tiranga yatra’ in Jahangirpuri and appeal to the people to maintain communal harmony,” she said.
On April 16, eight police personnel and a local resident were injured in violence that broke out when a Hanuman Jayanti procession passed a mosque in Jahangirpuri. The police said Hindu and Muslim groups threw stones at each other.
Residents said that participants in the processions were armed with swords and tridents, while videos also showed some of them wielding guns and shouting slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”.
Three days later, the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation razed the entrance gate of a local mosque and several shops, homes and other structures in the neighbourhood, mostly belonging to Muslims.
On Sunday, businessman Rakesh Mehra alleged that those who carried out the violence were outsiders, and said that the march was an initial step towards peace, The Hindu reported. “One of my friends was also injured in the clashes but I want to forget what happened on that day and spread the message of peace,” he said.
Ishrar Khan, who sells mobile phones, said that he was hurt as many people called local Muslims Bangladeshis and his neighbours called him a pattharbaaz, or stone-pelter. “Today is different, I stepped out and everyone hugged me,” he said. “We may not talk everyday but we marched together. I feel we are all brothers and should make amends. I went home after the yatra for Roza. I hope the situation gets better and we celebrate Eid.”
Khan said that a part of his shop was razed during the demolition drive.
DCP Usha Rangnani said that the rally sent out a message of peace and harmony, PTI reported. “The members of both communities have showcased that the tiranga [tricolour] is of utmost priority,” she said. “They have the given the message that the nation comes first.”