A day after violence erupted in Delhi's Jahangirpuri area over a Shobha Yatra procession on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and his followers were seen raising slogans in front of the very mosque that was at the heart of this clash.
The Quint was on the ground in Jahangirpuri on Sunday, 17 April, and saw Karnail Singh, Delhi BJP's Mandir Prakoshth head, raising slogans of "Jisko Is Desh Mein Rehna Hoga, Jai Sri Ram Kehna Hoga" (If you want to live in this country, you must say Jai Sri Ram).
A group of his followers then accompanied him in the sloganeering.
This took place at around 3 pm right in front of the Jama Masjid in Jahangirpuri's C Block, where the clash between members of the Shobha Yatra procession and those of the Muslim community inside the mosque escalated at around 6 pm in the evening on Saturday, 16 April.
Saffron-coloured flags with 'Jai Sri Ram' written on them could still be seen inside the gate of the mosque. Eyewitnesses allege that members from the procession attempted to hoist these flags on the mosque, but couldn't, after which the flags fell inside.
Police personnel were present in large numbers when Singh was raising these slogans, and subsequently attempted to escort him away from the area. The leader, however, continued to raise the slogans.
'Why Shouldn't We Say Jai Sri Ram?'
Speaking to The Quint outside the mosque, Singh defended his sloganeering.
"Should we just stand here and do nothing? Should we not send out a signal to our people? We kept saying 'Hindu-Muslim bhai bhai' but have you ever heard these people say it," he asked.
"Why shouldn't we say Jai Sri Ram?" he added.
Accompanying Singh was Garima Gupta, BJP member and municipal councillor in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Speaking to The Quint, she said, "This area is part of my ward, so we had just come to inspect how things stand now after yesterday's clash. As far as the sloganeering (by Singh) is concerned, I don't know about that. There was some media questioning happening, and in that, he had a reaction to the action, I don't know. Otherwise, things are calm."
According to a report in The Indian Express, a meeting of the area's Aman Committee had to be ended abruptly on Sunday allegedly due to remarks made by Gupta at the gathering.
On Sunday, at 12:25 pm, Delhi Police PRO Anil Mittal said that the situation in Jahangirpuri was 'under control'. "Adequate police force is deployed in the area. Area domination, foot patrolling, and deep deployment have been ensured to assure people and to maintain law and order," he said.
The sloganeering by the BJP leader and his following took place despite these arrangements.