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A year after Delhi riots: Wounds still fresh, pain galore

Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow

New Delhi— Cries and shrieks rent the air when rioters torched the house of 92-year-old Sharif Khan at Shiv Vihar in February last year.  

Inmates made SOS calls to police seeking help, but the cops looked the other way round. Rioters had a field day terrorizing, looting, ransacking, and torching the property. 

A year on, the Khan family is yet to come out of trauma that changed their life forever.

On February 25, rioters first looted the house and then set it ablaze.  Fear-stricken inmates rushed to the upper storey to save themselves from the violent mob. However, Sharif Khan was not lucky. Due to his old age, he could not flee and suffocated to death on the ground floor.

“Because of the fire, all inmates rushed to the rooftop. The entire house was filled with smoke and we were feeling suffocated. When the noise stopped, we came down to check on him. He was not able to breathe. We took him to the hospital where he died on March 3,” said his family.

The post-mortem report has revealed that Khan died of suffocation. The police pattern was the same here too. All calls made were not responded to, which allowed the rioters to go on a rampage with impunity.

“Rioters were looting and torching houses on February 25.  They also stormed our house. They first ransacked the property and then set it on fire”, said Farooq, one of the affected family members.

Farooq’s house is located at the edge of Shiv Vihar.  In fact, his house is in a buffer zone between Hindus and Muslims. All those rioters were assembling near the lane which divides Hindu and Muslim localities.

“We deal in servicing of vehicles. We service cars in our house. On that day there were several cars in our house. All of these were torched by mobsters,” said Farooq.

Delhi Minority Commission in its fact-finding report blamed BJP leaders for instigating riots. The report underlined the provocative speeches made by BJP leaders in a run-up to riots. The report said that the riots were organized and Muslims were targeted with purpose.

The report noted that due to anti-CAA protests, there was a lot of pressure on the government. It said BJP leaders wanted to evict the protesters and ultimately riots were used as a medium.

 Besides BJP leaders, fingers are also raised at the role of Delhi police which failed to come to the rescue of the minority community in the area.

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