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1984 Pogrom

Who Are The Guilty?Socio-Economic Composition Of The Assailants

Socio-Economic Composition Of The Assailants


The team members on the basis of extensive interview in different parts of the city were able to piece together the characteristics of the mobs that were responsible for the looting, arson and killings.

In some cases the mobs were brought from outside the locality (where they were set loose by local political leaders) and Jats and Gujjars from neighbouring villages. They were transported in vehicles. A large number of Scheduled Castes people were also a part of the mob.

More important ; in the area which were most affected, such as Trilokpuri, Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri, the mobs were led by local Congress (I) politicians and hoodlums of that locality. These areas, it will be recalled , were setup in the urban resettlement drive initiated by the Congress (I), and have since been active support bases of the Congress (I). These areas have also in the recent past provided the Congress (I) rallies in the city substantial numerical support. In other words, there exists in such areas an established organisational network through which masess are mobilised for demonstration of Congress (I)’s ostensible popular support. A veteran politician based in Delhi put in very crisply when he said that these resettlement colonies ” are the kept (rakhel) of the Congress (I)”.

The participations of the Jats and Gujjars from the so-called “urban villages” of Delhi played a very strong role in adding to the numbers of rioters and in aiding to the numbers of rioters and in aiding the riots, murders and looting. They were particularly dominant in West and South Delhi. Most of the these villagers who once owned land in Ber Serai, Munirka and Mohammadpur, for instance made a tidy sum of money after their land was taken away for the urban expansion of New Delhi. The land owned by these villagers was generally of a very poor quality with no irrigational facilities. For this reason the villagers in these areas had to augment their resources through non-agricultural means, not least of them being brigandage. After their lands were acquired by the government they suddenly became prosperous and began to exert themselves politically as well. It is a known fact that if one is to make any headway in an election the Gujjars and Jats of these areas have to be one’s side. Unfortunately, much of the police force which is stationed in this area and around is drawn from these communities. For this reason, on various occasions there had been a noticable complicity in these areas between the criminals and the police. This truth was brought home startly during the recent riots.

As for the Scheduled Caste communities who were displaced due to the acquistion of land for urban expansion those from the valmiki community utilised the benefits of the reservation policy and came into the city where they found jobs in the policies, UPSC etc. The Bhangis went into the Corporation, while the third-major group, the Dhanaks, considered the lowest caste, are engaged in a variety of odd jobs. Among the Scheduled Caste communities living in the resettlement colonies, the Valmikis are pre-dominantly supporters of Jagjivan Ram, while the Bhangis are solid supporters of Congress (I), Information gathered by us from the trouble areas suggests that the Bhangis many of them working as a corporation – comprised the bulk of the local miscreants the sikhs.

A few words on the composition of Delhi’s population may be relevant at this point. Hindus comprise 83 percent of Delhi’s population. The present Sikh population is around 7.5 percent ( an estimated 500,000 people) . A majority of them settled in Delhi after the partition, before which their population was only 1.2 percent of the total population of the city.


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