Delhi riots: Homes of most Muslims lie charred in deserted Shiv Vihar

We dialled 100, but no one came to our rescue. How did they have so many weapons? How did they get here when section 144 was in place,” questioned Nazia

Delhi riots: Homes of most Muslims lie charred in deserted Shiv Vihar

Ashlin Mathew

Homes of most Muslims lie charred in lanes after lanes in Shiv Vihar. Schools, bakeries, ration shops and vehicles have been burnt to ashes. More than four masjids were set ablaze and now the sky can be seen through their fallen roofs. Muslims have fled en masse to the neighbouring Mustafabad.

Walking through bylanes of the mostly deserted Shiv Vihar, it becomes evident that it is the worst-affected locality in the large-scale orchestrated violence which erupted on Monday, February 24. The violence erupted after BJP leader Kapil Mishra warned of violence if the women who had blocked a road in Jaffrabad in support of Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad’s call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ did not vacate. Soon after Mishra’s threat, armed Hindutva mobs descended on north-east Delhi to wreck mayhem on Muslim settlers.

Most Muslims who fled are not sure if their homes have been completely torched and vandalised. A few of them saw mobs heading towards their homes, while some of them escaped just before the armed men reached their lanes. In lane after lane, it becomes evident that Muslim homes and establishments were targeted. In streets where a Hindu home adjoined a Muslim residence, the Muslim residence has been vandalised and burnt down where as the Hindu home has been left untouched.

“We are yet to ascertain the loss. We are not sure how much is left as several of us fled as soon as we heard that armed mobs had entered the area. We dialled 100, but no one answered the call. No one came to our rescue. How did they have so many weapons? How did the police not see them marching towards our areas when section 144 was in place,” questioned Nazia, whose house is in Gali No. 10 at Shiv Vihar.

“The Hindutva attackers threw cylinders into several homes to blow them up. You can see it on the walls. They wanted to ensure nothing remains. How did they transport these filled cylinders? We put our lifelong savings to build a house. Now, how will we start all over again? We have nothing left,” said Zannati, adding that the money they had saved for her sister-in-law’s wedding was also stolen.

In a pattern that became evident, cylinders were also seen at Auliya Mosque near the entrance to Shiv Vihar. The mosque was torched and lies covered in soot.

Though all Muslims have fled the area, Hindus are still around. Some of the streets where mostly Hindus live, they have blocked the entrance to their area. Most of the women refused to talk about the violence. “We don’t know who led the attack. Hindus have also suffered. Mohamaddans keep big knives at home,” said Asha, alluding to the claim that Muslims led the attack.

When she was asked, why would Muslims vandalise their own Masjid and their homes, Asha got annoyed and walked off.

Two schools in the area – Rajdhani School and DRP Convent – schools were attacked. The mob burnt school furniture and books. The officials of the schools called the Delhi Fire Service but no fire engine arrived.

There are a couple of Hindu homes and ration shops which have been burnt too, but these are exceptions. Near Phase 6, a mosque has been completely burnt down and a Hindu person’s house abutting it has been burnt on the ground floor. The top floor of Baghel House is intact with the stove and the refrigerator in place.

Just across the mosque are rows of shops owned mostly by Muslims and a couple of Hindus. The Muslim shops are completely charred, the ration shop owned by a Hindu has been vandalised and an alcohol bottle lies in the ashes in front of the shop.

“We do not know who came to vandalise the shops. What can I say now, who can I accuse? When we saw men wearing helmets and carrying wooden rods and swords, all I could think of was to escape with my family. We used to stay on top of the shop, so I fled with my wife and children. We are now staying at a relative’s place nearby,” said Ram Baran.

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Published: 01 Mar 2020, 10:16 AM