'Never Had Riots Here in 1984, 1992 Either': Amidst Violence, Seelampur Emerges an Oasis of Calm

Neither Hindus nor Muslims are willing to be swayed by rumours or attempts at polarisation, The Wire finds.

New Delhi: A day after riots broke out in north east Delhi, Seelampur J block in the region remained a rare site of calm from where no incidence of violence was reported.

A visit to the area, which has population of Muslims and Hindus in almost equal measure, gives an idea as to how there is such peace. The reason is a firm and unshakeable decision by residents in the region to stand united at all times and resist any attempts to strike up communal fire.  

“Yesterday (on February 25), a few wayward boys from outside tried to enter our area, it led to a commotion among the residents, rumours spread and some people closed shops but nothing happened,” said a resident.

“We have unity here between Muslims and Hindus,” he added.

Another resident who identified himself as Ved Prakash, said there has always been “love and affection” among residents of the region. “Be it in 1984 (the anti-Sikh riots) or in 1992 (the post Babri Masjid demolition riots)…there were riots in other areas but not in our area. We don’t think here that one is a Hindu and the other is a Muslim,” he said.

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It was not easy for locals to not succumb to the panic that the alleged outsiders sought to spread. A young man, Samir, says the commotion after they came in running on Tuesday night was palpable. “Seeing them, people got a bit alarmed. But nothing happened. Everybody left the streets and entered their houses. In one hour, everything was normal,” he added.

Another group of young men that The Wire spoke to at J block highlighted the effectiveness of rumours. “Only rumours have been spread, there is no riot situation in our area. Some people are trying to create trouble from outside but we are unitedly pushing them out,” they said in unison.

Two senior residents of the colony – Aabdul Majeed and Pyare Lal – were spotted siting by the road side. They said they have been living as neighbours for the last 55 years.

“We never had a riot in the J block and hope that it will remain the same. We live together in unity and we know each other well,” said Majeed.

When news came that there has been violence in the adjoining areas, Majeed said the decision was clear. “We decided that we will not regard people as Hindu or Muslim. We will all unite if an outsider comes here to create trouble,” he said.

Satish Saini, another resident, added, “Even if rumours come, we don’t pay much heed to it.”