The Delhi Police on Thursday, 6 June arrested a habitual auto-lifter, who allegedly rammed a stolen car into a group of devotees emerging out of a mosque in Shahdara after offering Eid prayers on Wednesday, an IANS report said.
The accused has been identified as Shahrukh, a drug addict, who revealed during interrogation that he had stolen the car from Delhi’s Madhu Vihar area, according to PTI.
"During the investigation, police identified Shahrukh with the help of CCTV footage and arrested him, along with his female associate on Wednesday night from the area near Kashmere Gate," said Meghna Yadav Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara).
"Shahrukh was driving the stolen Honda City and sped off towards Anand Vihar on spotting several policemen outside the mosque," Yadav added. He had noticed heavy police deployment after entering the streets of Khureji where the incident happened.
In the process, he left several worshippers injured. Following this, an agitated mob damaged several DTC buses parked at a bus stop, IANS reported.
After the incident, he later returned to Anand Vihar at night and allegedly stole a scooter on which he and his female associate escaped towards Kashmere Gate, police said, PTI reported.
One car and a scooter were recovered from their possession, police added.
"The police teams were trying to trace the accused. Our investigation revealed the car he was driving was stolen, for which an FIR was registered on 30 June at the Madhu Vihar police station," Yadav said.
Shahrukh’s family had disowned him due to his drug addiction, a senior police officer said, adding that he used to sleep at night in the car.
On Wednesday morning, he noticed heavy police deployment in the area due to which he got scared and tried to escape from the area, they said. He entered the streets of Khureji where the incident happened.
Videos on Social Media
Videos had earlier emerged on social media showing a crowd vandalising a DTC bus in East Delhi’s Khureji Chowk on Wednesday.
According to media reports, the crowd took to the streets after a speeding car plowed through a congested street, where worshippers from two mosques had dispersed after Eid prayers on 5 June.
CCTV footage accessed by The Hindustan Times reportedly showed a four-year-old boy being saved in the nick of time even as the car sped towards him. Several people from the locality also attempted to chase the car, but the driver sped away.
The crowd of over hundreds then took to protesting outside the local police station after the incident, demanding that a complaint be filed.
Over the course of their protest, some elements in the crowd took to vandalising the buses, videos of which have now gone viral with claims of ‘communal discord’ and disharmony.
Speaking to The Quint, Meghna Yadav said that people were only sharing videos of the buses being damaged, and not of the car being rashly driven in the first place.
“There is nothing communal about this incident. Majority of the people were very cooperative, otherwise it is impossible to disperse a large mob without any big incident happening. Of course, there were a few mischievous elements, which is the case with every mob.”
Yadav further added that no FIR had been filed against the crowd.
"We have not filed an FIR for rioting since the damage done by the crowd was very minimal. Our priority currently is to catch the driver who is absconding," she said.
Did The Car Only ‘Brush Past’?
Meanwhile, journalist Raj Shekhar Jha claimed that the mob went on a rampage after a car “brushed past” some of them who were returning from a mosque after offering prayers.
“The place where this incident took place is very congested on a regular day. Yesterday being Eid, it was crowded beyond what’s normal. At this point, any car speeding through the road will hardly ‘brush past’.”
However, she also said that while several news reports mentioned six-eight people having been injured from the incident, no serious injuries were sustained apart from minor scratches.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI.)