New Delhi: The Muharram processions in Outer Delhi's Bawana area, which had been on the boil since Sunday's 'Mahapanchayat', today passed off peacefully amid heavy police deployment.
The processions, however, remained confined to the boundaries of the J J Colony, breaking a decades-old tradition when they used to start from the JJ cluster and circle the Bawana township before returning to the point from where it started.
The observance also remained low-key as neither the devotees inflicted injuries on themselves as part of mourning nor was there any Akhara shows involving youth performing stunts with combat weapons and fire.
It was only some children who showed their skills with sticks this time. As many as 12 different processions were carried out from afternoon to 8 PM.
A group of JNU students belonging to AISA (All India Students' Association also reached the area and were trying to stage a protest against the "Mahapanchayat' but were asked by the police to leave.
Many locals blamed "outsiders" for the tension in the area while maintaining that the Taziya procession had actually been a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity.
"The procession had been going on here for decades and the Taziyas were even revered by the Hindus. Some outsiders at this Sunday's gathering spoilt the social fabric of the locality," said Ravindra Rai, a local shopkeeper.
The area had been tense since Sunday when a 'Mahapanchayat' was held in the town area which was attended by hundreds of locals. The gathering had demanded that the procession should not come to the town and remain only in the J J colony arguing it would disrupt traffic and businesses of the locals.
With police intervention, it was decided between both the communities with mutual consent that the procession will not cross the canal separating the J J colony and the Bawana town.
The procession began at around 2 PM following afternoon namaz (Zohar).
Around 1,000 policemen were deployed in the area and along the routes of the procession which were closely monitored by senior police officials including Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) R S Krishnia.
"Muharram is a very important festival and we have been making arrangements on this occasion. This time also due to certain things here and due to some inputs, we had made extra arrangements," he said.
Delhi Police Commando teams were also present along with local police while Special Branch (Intelligence) was also in touch with people of both the communities to avoid spread of rumours.