Fires, tear gas, and the fear that rioting may spread to other cities — all because of a dropped Qur’an. “Police posts set on fire in mob fury,” from the Times of India (thanks to PRCS):
NEW DELHI: Two police posts were set on fire by thousands of agitated residents and students around Jamia Milia Islamia University on Saturday evening. The angry mob first set Jamia police post on fire and later targetted Sahinbagh police post in Sarita Vihar. About 40 people, including policemen, were injured in the violence.
Around two dozen police officers were injured in which four were reported to be critical. The incident happened after local residents in the area resisted police’s efforts to remove a patri market. In course of the encroachment removal drive, the Koran was reportedly dropped by a policeman, leading to tension. A local leader reportedly slapped a police officer.
Police had to use tear gas to disperse the angry mob. Around 3,000 people had collected around 6.30 pm and took out the police records from the Jamia police post and set them on fire before setting fire to the the post too. The SHO of the area Rajesh Sharma and additional SHO Akhilesh Singh were severely injured. The injured police officers were rushed to AIIMS, Holy Family and Apollo. Several vehicles including police jeeps were also set ablaze by the mob.
Traffic in the area was disrupted for nearly four hours. CRPF personnel and additional police force from other districts were deployed. Just when the traffic situation became normal, the mob pelted stones at the Sahinbagh police post and set it on fire too.
The Delhi Police has declared high alert in other minority-dominated areas like Seelampur, Jafarpur etc. Said Sultan Ahmed, a local leader: “We were sorting out the issue with the police. They urged us to bring in the person who had put up the bookstall and to whom the Koran belonged. Suddenly the mob started pelting stones at the post. The gate was locked but the mob broke the gate down and many policemen were hurt in the process.”