New Delhi: As life started limping back to normal in parts of riot affected areas of Northeast Delhi on Friday, many people recalled the traumatic experience they had undergone while saving their lives when armed rioters attacked their homes. There is also fear among many locals that the police could “implicate” them to save their own skin. The riot took the lives of 43 people and left over 200 injured. It is suspected that the death toll might increase.
“Our houses were set on fire; businesses were targeted by the mob during the riot. We lost everything in this riot. However, this could not stop us from progressing. We will look forward and also fight against injustice.
“It was the politicians and some section of media which portrayed us as terrorists. We are angry but cannot go against the country. It was a big challenge for us to overcome this riot, but as people say time heals all wounds, we will emerge as strong and join the mainstream with other communities,” said Rashid, a local shopkeeper of Chand Bagh area, recalling when his family was forced to flee after a mob allegedly attacked their home.
The nightmare on Wednesday night ended only after Rashid and his family of four entered a Muslim-dominated lane.
“I was at home when a mob barged in. We somehow managed to escape,” said Rashid, who runs a shop to feed his family.
The insensitivity of politicians and law enforcement agencies, which failed to nab the culprits, also hurt the victims of the riot. Their families are still traumatised and struggling for their survival. The five days of riot has changed our lives forever, he said.
“It is very difficult to win the trust of the people who lost their families, houses, and businesses in this riot. We feel deceived and ignored,” said Rohit Sharma, a bank employee and resident of Chand Bagh area.
“We took shelter in our relative’s house for the next two days. After the situation normalised, we came back on Friday. I keep thinking about the mob mentality, how someone can kill a human being without any reason,” said Sharma, who is still in shock.
“If the guilty of 1984 had been punished, we wouldn’t have seen the 1993 Mumbai riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots. Be prepared for it as it will keep happening until the government takes firm action,” said Najeeb, a resident of Maujpur whose friend was killed in the riot.
“We don’t hate anybody. We just want justice and compensation, which will secure the future of our next generation. However, the wounds will remain in our heart, soul, and mind. Though time will lessen the pain, the memory of the tragedy will stay forever,” he added.