By Syed Zubair Ahmad
New Delhi, March 6: Alam, a barber seemingly in his 40s, is scared of going back to Shiv Vihar to see his charred saloon even after 10 days of “organised violence” against Muslims in northeast Delhi.
“I am afraid to go there,” said Alam and stopped at Chhoti Puliya, a small bridge dividing worst affected Shiv Vihar and densely Muslim-populated locality Mustafabad. He saw his shop afar off and pointed fingers away at the houses and business establishments selectively targeted by Hindutva mob during the Delhi’s deadliest anti-Muslim violence that broke last week of February following provocative speeches made by BJP leaders. “Everything has been either looted or burnt. We lost our business…We lost hope,” concluded Alam.
Alam is among 2000-odd Muslims who ran for shelter from Shiv Vihar during violence to adjacent Mustafabad – Chaman Park and Babu Nagar. Now they are scared of going back to Hindu-dominated neighbourhoods Shiv Vihar.
Use of commercial cylinders to explode houses, shops
More than100 houses, dozens of shops and kiosks were burnt. The rioters did not even spare the lone mosque in the locality. The motivated mob also apparently drank in the mosque before setting the religious shrine on fire. Two broken gas cylinders and liquor bottles were found inside the mosque. At several places, one can still see parts of cylinders strewn all around Muslim houses.
Eyewitnesses described well-equipped mobsters blast Muslim properties using LPG cylinders, opened fire indiscriminately at defenceless people and looted shops with full impunity. Innumerable video footages show police standing by, joining rioters chanting religious nationalist slogans such as Bharat Mata ki Jai or Jai Shri Ram, which now become war cry.
When the violence begun, Muslims fled the area in midnight for safety, leaving behind their all earnings and documents, ranging from identity cards to property papers. The mob invaded their houses looted jewellery and cash before setting them on fire. As a result, many riot victims run for papers now from one place to other.
Fear of losing houses
Scores of people who lost their identity documents and property papers are now fear that the Hindutva intruders would occupy their houses. Amidst the atmosphere of fear, some residents took cudgel to visit their ruined houses in the hope of finding some documents, but in vain. “I locked my house and ran hurriedly. I want to go back to my home as I fear it may be taken over by the intruders. I have no papers of my house,” said Jamal.
Officials of Rapid Action Force (RAF) say they are policing the area day and night to ensure no one can illegally occupy houses. They security officials escort small groups as often as possible to check on the condition of devastated homes.
Streets being cleaned fast
Streets of Shiv Vihar are being cleaned on war footing. Torched bikes and scooters had been removed from the streets and piled up in burnt houses to present a ‘normal look’ of the streets. Still, however, the streets wore a deserted and devastated look.