NEW DELHI: It was a rare but warming sight in the winding lanes of Old Delhi. Despite the trepidation and anxiety that kept women and children indoors, the men folk of both communitiies came out to greet a Shobha yatra to reinstall idols in the temple at Lal Kuan, with flowers and bottles of water.

The Aman committee formed after the violence in Lal Kuan in which the temple was stoned, was there to greet the procession along with the residents of Old Delhi. They showered rose petals, offered bottles of water, and this gesture at the very beginning of the yatra diffused what could have become a very tense situation.

And if this was not enough the bhandaara organised by the temple, had the Muslim residents serving the food to the processionists. Another gesture that brought smiles to tense faces and contributed towards a peaceful end to a very tense day. The Delhi police that have played an exemplary role and earned the respect and support of both communities over the past few days, were present in large numbers. Ninety one CCTV cameras, along with audio, were installed in the area..

In the absence of conventional leaders ---with all political representatives having disappeared from view---the residents of Old Delhi too peace into their hands and worked day and night to ensure that there was no disturbance during the course of a Shobha yatra to re-install idols in the temple at Lal Kuan.

It might be recalled that a clash between the two communities over a petty parking issue had resulted in stone throwing, with the Durga temple vandalised in the confrontation. The anger was contained then by the two communities who formed an Aman committee, and worked with the Delhi police to bring about an agreement in which the Muslims agreed to repair the temple. Those responsible for the violence were arrested.

There was no dearth of good samaritans. Young man Abu Sufiyan did the work that journalists no longer bother with, recording the procession, the arrangements, interviewing key persons and releasing the videos of peace on the social media to bust rumours that were aimed at inciting passions on the streets. Sufiyan diligently videographed the efforts for peace, while the eight member peace committee worked with the police to ensure that no spark was ignited by mischief makers that would set the area on fire.

Although Twitter kicked up a storm, on the ground in Old Delhi the peace committee and residents worked to diffuse rumours of big build ups on both sides, of sinister plans by the one community to attack the other. These were diffused again through positive posts on the social media and direct contact with residents. The Aman committee of both Hindus and Muslims did a good job, and according to the local residents, did amazing work to keep the situation under control. Not just that but to promote “bhai chara” between the residents, with the bhandaara in which the committee made the Muslims participate, and the joint reception with flowers and water going a long way for peace.

Sufiyan said, “when the trouble began we all really felt the need for political leaders as we had no idea what to do. But now that the people here have taken over, we are actually happy that none of them came here. They would have only complicated matters and perhaps made the situation very tense.” Instead the residents took over and have shown the country the power of the people in what was a very exacting and tense situation that went out of hand, but was immediately brought back in control.

As the local residents said, it is difficult to find words to express how this was done, and then as a young man piped up with a smile, “but we did it!” Sufiyan had the last word, “we have shown the way to all of India.”

Credit for Videos and photographs ABU SUFIYAN