At around 11 pm on 24 February, close to two hundred men, wielding sticks and waving saffron flags, blocked all traffic at the Babarpur junction on the Maujpur road of northeast Delhi. Many of them wore saffron scarves and had tilaks on their foreheads. The Hindu right-wing mob was chanting slogans like “Ek hi naam, Jai Shri Ram”—There is just one name, Jai Shri Ram—and “Har Har Mahadev.” It was an assertion of a muscular form of Hinduism. Around a dozen women were sitting in the middle of the junction and chanting the Hanuman Chalisa—a sixteenth century hymn in praise of the eponymous Hindu god. The few placards dotting the crowd proclaimed support for the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which was signed into law in December last year.
Over the last 48 hours, armed Hindu mobs have targeted the Muslim neighbourhoods in Babarpur, Maujpur, Kardam Puri, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Bhajanpura, Yamuna Vihar, Vijay Park and Jaffrabad. All of these areas fall in the North East district of Delhi which is represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha. Nearly every locality which has been attacked falls in assembly constituencies which were won by the BJP in the recently concluded Delhi state elections. As per the Indian Express, seven people have been killed in the violence so far but there is no clarity on the identities of all the deceased or how they died. At least half a dozen Muslim residents of Maujpur told me CAA supporters attacked them on 23 February while on their way back home from work. Following the violence, by the night of 24 February, the Delhi Police had locked down the localities of Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Bhajanpura and Yamuna Vihar and were inaccessible. That night, I could visit only Jaffrabad, Babarpur, Maujpur and Vijay Park—all within a radius of five kilometres. The residents of the Muslim clusters within these areas told me that there had been aggressive stone-pelting by CAA supporters in their colonies. A Muslim resident of Jaffrabad told me that in the Dharmapuri gali, near Maujpur, Hindu households had put saffron flags outside their houses on the morning of 24 February to ensure that their houses were spared the attacks by CAA supporters.
The Hindu right-wing mob at the Babarpur junction on the night of 24 February came from the Hindu localities of the neighbouring areas—Yamuna Vihar to the north, Seelampur to the south, Maujpur to the west and Chhajjupur to the east. Several members of the Hindu right-wing mob had their upper-caste pride on display. Many men among them wore t-shirts that had “Brahman,” “Jat” and “Jai Shri Ram” written on them and from my conversation with them I gleaned that many of them belonged to other upper castes such as Rajputs and Baniyas. The crowd had ostensibly gathered to oppose the occupation of the Maujpur road leading to the Jaffrabad metro station, which is less than a kilometre down the road, by a group of local Muslim women the previous day. Babarpur, Maujpur, Jaffrabad and the surrounding areas of Seelampur and Yamuna Vihar have a sizeable Muslim population of around thirty percent. The Muslim women of Jaffrabad and Seelampur have been protesting against the CAA, by the roadside in Seelampur, for the last two months.