On March 1 2020, the rumour spilled across Delhi of fresh riots in different parts of state. the rumour of fresh riots terrorised the common people in streets, resulting in mass panic and franatic attempts by people, pedistrains, thpose driving vehicles to relocate to safer locations. speaking to Policy Times correspondents one of the resident of Jasola Village near Shaheen Bagh, on the basis of anonymity revealed that, “Since the riots have broked in state, we are scared to sleep in our homes at night and prefer to spend night at relatives in Batla House to avoid any threat”.
The rumour of rioting was also reported in areas identical in each from Tilak Nagar in western Delhi to Jamia Nagar and Shaheen Bagh in southeastern Delhi, which is raising doubt in people’s mind that it was done intentionally to test the people’s response and draw future plans of pogroms accordingly.
Following the Delhi riots ( anti- Muslim & anti CAA protestors ) that took place between 23 to 27 February 2020, the situation of the city is volatile and panic reigns especailly in the streets of the Muslim ghettos. There is an ominous and uneasy calm in the Muslim localities and mixed-community localities of the city, especially where the low-income groups live. Any single alarm can have the potential to trigger mass panic and force people to seek safe cover frantically. This was seen on 1 March evening, not just in one locality or two, but throughout Delhi.
In a similar panic call in Jamia Nagar caused to close down all shops and forced all rickshaw-pullers, handcart-puller street vendors and the shoppers to rush in search of a safe abode. The entire market of Zakir Nagar was deserted in a matter of a few seconds, as everyone hid in other people’s garages, shops and streets fearing the unknown. It took a lot of effort to assure the people of normalcy prevailing and persuade them to carry on their regular business. The local politician Amanatullah Khan, religious clerics and community members had to hit the streets and announce through mosque loudspeakers that there is nothing to be scared of and to avoid rumours.
The same scenario happened in Ramesh Nagar and Tilak Nagar localities, while there were also rumours of rioting in Madanpur Khadar and Jasola bridge connecting the Muslim ghetto of Shaheen Bagh with its posh Hindu neighbourhood. Many even claimed that the Hindutva fascists have attacked Shaheen Bagh protesters and some claimed that there was rioting in Karol Bagh. While each of such information was a rumour, how they were spread isn’t known. The modus-operandi of how the rumour spread remains still unknown.
According to some people in the areas where the rumour of rioting was spread claimed that some scuffle between a few young men fanned the fear. The same thing was said in Tilak Nagar and Jamia Nagar, which are far apart from each other. This shows that a mere rumour has capability to frighten the people of an entire city and trigger immense tension among the people. The rumour of rioting could have also triggered new incidents of communal violence in the mixed-community localities, but fortunately, nothing of such has been reported and it was the people’s maturity and sensibility that stopped the situation from worsening.