At least 33 people have been arrested following clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Trilokpuri area of India’s capital, New Delhi, India Today website reported quoting the police.
“Ten people were arrested on Friday and 23 today for rioting in the area,” an unnamed police officer was quoted saying on Saturday.
Clashes between the two communities took place after Diwali celebrations in Trilokpuri’s B-Block, with the two groups pelting each other with stones. It was still unclear what prompted the unrest.
Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi chief minister, hinted at role of vested interests in a tweet.
Tensions continued throughout Saturday and Sunday, with the India Today reporting that clashes had spread to three districts on Sunday.
But in Trilokpuri area, residents said they were determined to end the tensions that continued over the weekend and into Sunday, as the district was placed under order, restricting movement after hours.
Ramchander Tilkak, a volunteer of a community group called the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Isai Ekta committee in East Delhi, formed to ease the tensions, told Al Jazeera the incident was certainly not the first to happen in the vicinity.
Tilkak alleged that the trouble was essentially between two households that slipped out of control.
“The fight was between two houses and the people here in our locality are always used by bad elements who also act as rumour mills. We are clueless how the things went from bad to worse,” he said.
Another resident, Rampal, 60, said it was not clear how the violence started but suggested “the role of outsiders in inciting violence that has been seen in the past too”.
“They start it and then we start killing each other, as a result we have lost many lives in such type of incidents in the past,” he said.
According to the local media, a number of people were injured and taken to hospital, while 13 police officers suffered wounds during the clashes.
On Saturday, police had deployed over 30 vans, water cannon vehicles and riots control vehicles to the area.
Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Beniwal said: “Situation is under control as of now. But whoever breaks the law, will be arrested. Our men are keeping a tab.”
Additional reporting by Showkat Shafi in Delhi