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Tilak Vihar witness uneasy calm after violent clash; More than 1000 cops deployed

August 16, 2013 | By

New Delhi, India (August 16, 2013): A violent clash took place between Sikhs and Balmikis in West Delhi’s Tilak Vihar on August 15 that left at least 25 injured, including five policemen. Certain reports suggest that 8 persons, all Sikhs, have been shot at by the police, whereas the Indian Express has reported that 3 persons who sustained gunshot injuries have been identified as Mohar Singh, Sunny Singh and Raghunath. “They are being treated at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. One of them was shot in the neck while another was hit in the abdomen” Indian Express has reported.

Tilak Vihar, being a Sikh genocide survivors resettlement colony, has considerable Sikh population.

Several vehicles including police vans torched in Tilak Vihar on August 15, 2013

Several vehicles including police vans torched in Tilak Vihar on August 15, 2013

While talking to various media representatives Sikhs, including persons injured with bullets, as well as their family members, accused police for opening gun-fire at Sikhs but the police has denied opening fire. The police is claiming that they only used water cannons, lathis and teargas shells to break up the clash but the eye-witnesses and the Sikh victims are contesting the police claims as being false.

As per media reports three of the injured policemen are said to have head injuries. Seven police vehicles, including that of the district ACP, were damaged in the violence.

“According to the police, seven private vehicles were also set on fire and five police vehicles, including additional commissioner (west) V Renganathan’s official car, were damaged by an angry mob that resorted to stone pelting”, Hindustan Times (HT) has reported.

According to the Indian Express: “Sunny Singh (23), who owns a bangle shop in the area, alleged, “My friends and I had gathered to see what was happening. There was stone-pelting and the police opened fire. I was running away when the police shot at me”.”

It’s unclear what started the violence because there were conflicting versions. “Trouble began after some men began performing stunts on motorcycles in the area,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

According to the Hindustan Times (HT): [t]rouble began … when four bike-borne youngsters from one community were roughed up by some people from the other community for riding their motorcycle in a rash and negligent manner in the latter’s colony. Whereas some local journalist told Sikh Siyasat News that the scuffle started from a minor clash between children over kite flying.

Reports suggest that a heated argument between members of the Sikh and Balmiki communities led to the clash. “We don’t know what started the argument. While some claimed a minor accident started it, others claimed the argument was over flying kites. Suddenly, some men began pelting stones,” an eye-witness is reported to have alleged, by the Indian Express.

Chaman Singh, member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) alleged, “the Valmikis were armed with knives and guns. There was stone-pelting from both sides. The Valmikis entered our houses and began attacking people. They tried to burn our vehicles and the police outpost. There was also firing by the police.”

Over 1,000 police personnel from several districts were called in to bring the situation under control. Addl CP (West) V Renganathan said, “A case of rioting has been registered on the complaint of the outpost in-charge.”

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