New Delhi: The eerie silence in violence-hit Old Mustafabad was shattered by wails, as the bodies of riot victims, released by the authorities, began arriving Saturday morning. Fear still stalks nearby Shiv Vihar, now destroyed, whose mostly Muslim residents have taken refuge in nearby Chaman Park, fearing another attack. As a brittle peace settles in northeast Delhi, officials have started assessing the damage for compensation.
The bodies of brothers Aamir (27) and Hashim (17) were fished out of the nearby “nala” where other bodies were found. Some with bullet marks, some with severed limbs, and some torn in two. Death did not come easy; it was brutal.
The locality mourned the deaths even as some kept their fingers crossed that their missing loved ones would turn up. The violence continued even after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval toured the riot hit area – twice.
“He (Doval) said nothing will happen, but that night petrol bombs were hurled at our homes, bullets fired and acid thrown,” Asif said. Nadeem said over 400 calls were made to the police control room in one hour, but the cops refused to come.
“’You wanted azadi, now take azadi’ was how they responded,” said Nadeem. His neighbour Ram Singh (name changed) arranged safe passage for over 200 trapped Muslims.
“They were outsiders but also local boys involved in arson, loot and violence. I could never think that our own boys will kill,” said Ram Singh, breaking down as he narrated the horrific three days. He blamed ‘right wing’ groups.
Shiv Vihar’s gali no. 7 suffered the brunt. It is a mix of Hindu and Muslims who lived in harmony for years. While Hindu houses were also destroyed, others were surprisingly spared.
“The houses with Jai Shri Ram scrawled were untouched. But I will help my Muslim neighbours restart their life when they return,” said Vishal. His property was unt-ouched while the mosque next door was burnt.
Women are traumatised, claiming there were acid attacks and rapes.
“One girl was gang-raped and is missing,” claimed Nazma (name changed) as she showed the photograph of an acid attack victim.
Amid a pall of gloom there was a ray of hope. A nine-month pregnant woman who rioters kicked in the belly delivered a baby boy in Al-Hind Hospital.