The end of every riot is the start of preparation for the next one—not only by stocking up knives, lathis and guns— but by silent acceptance of what is fast becoming part of routine life in our cities and towns. People have learnt to live with riots. Yet, all through, there has also been a continuous struggle against communalism in our country. The communal riots that rocked the walled city of Old Delhi from May 19 to 24, 1987, were set off by a long and vicious spiral of events and trends that had been warping Hindu-Muslim relations for quite some time ; but, in trying to control the riots, the Delhi Administration, the Delhi police and the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) betrayed not only utter negligence of duty and responsibility, but an aggressive bias against the Muslim population, which was manifested in widespread terrorisation of Muslims, indiscriminate police firing on Muslims, leading to the killing of innocent people, and harassment of thousands of their community who were trapped inside the curfew-bound lanes of the walled city for days together without any access to the basic amenities-a harassment shared by their Hindu neighbours. A fact-finding team sponsored by the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi, came to the above conclusion after having toured extensively the riot-affected areas, meeting the residents-both Hindu and Muslim and interviewing political leaders, government officials and police personnel.The present report is a modest contribution to that struggle.
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