Delhi communal clashes: City's past shows Hindu-Muslim enmity predates Modi, Congress and even Partition
By Firstpost 03-Jul-2019
The next morning, Nasim showed up with a street posse at the home of a friend of Vishwakarma, demanding an apology. The friend, Khalil Ahmed, failed to extract one, and a battle erupted on the street.
Within hours, home-made bombs were being thrown from the roofs of the Imliwali mosque, and snipers opened fire from inside homes along Bahadurgarh Road and Fhoota Road.
Eleven people were killed — eight Hindus, two Muslims, one Sikh — before the Delhi communal riot of May, 1974, ended. Precisely why did the people decide to kill each other, multiple police investigations and a high-level government inquiry could not establish.
This week, as Delhi struggles with the fallout from weekend violence which ended in a temple in the city's Chawri Bazaar area being vandalised, the 1974 riots — one of the deadliest Hindu-Muslim clashes in post-Independence Delhi — are a useful prism to inspect what happened, and why. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise to power, there's been growing, global concern about the apparently-inexorable rise in communal violence across India. The Delhi riot tells us the story isn't about Prime Minister Modi — nor as simple as the headlines might lead us to believe.
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