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A Year Of Delhi Riots: Wounds Still Fresh, Justice A Far Cry

Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Houses might have been rebuilt but they have yet to become homes. Wounds are still fresh and justice is a far cry.

Official figures reveal that 54 people died in the riots. Some lost their fathers; some lost their brothers and some lost their sons. Several reports have said riots were preconceived in which right-wing groups and their activists played an important role

Most of the slain were Muslim. Northeast Delhi is a Muslim majority area and it was deliberately targeted. The weaker section of society was the most affected. Shiv Vihar and Mustafabad witnessed a dance of death for three days. When riots ebbed, the area presented a look of a war-torn city.

Background

Protests and dharnas were happening in the entire country against the CAA last year. Right-wing groups had been openly threatening to stop the rallies against the CAA. There was pressure on the government because of dharna by women groups. Suddenly some BJP supported leaders started giving vitriolic statements to clear the area.

The leaders who incited people are roaming free. No action has been taken against them. Delhi Minority Commission had identified the leaders who gave statements that incited the riots. The report was submitted to Delhi Chief Minister and Lieutenant Governor.

Affected families said cops did not come to their rescue despite SOS calls.

There was a pattern to the riots. Rioters were storming houses, ransacking property, and igniting LPG cylinders to trigger a fire.

Have families moved on

Affected families are trying to move on. Some have received compensation and rebuilt their houses. Some are still putting up in rented houses. Most of the houses have been repaired and renovated. However, wounds are still fresh.

Many wounded people are not in a position to go back to work. Many people said the compensation amount was spent on treatment and medicines.

There are some wounded who will take another year to recover. Such is the situation that many people have lost interest in seeking justice.

What affected families say?

Rukhsana, widow of Feroz said her husband’s body was recovered from nallah after 14 days. She said even filing FIR was difficult. Feroz had left home on February 24 and his body was found in Karwalnagar nalla.

 “I had to shuttle between Uttar Pradesh police and Delhi police for lodging FIR.  Delhi police were saying since you live in UP, your file FIR there. UP police were saying that the incident occurred in Delhi and FIR should be lodged there only. Had police reached on time my husband’s life would have been saved. Police did not take his call seriously,” she said.

Jamal-ud-din’s wife Nazish said they came to know about the riots when they were attending the wedding at Farooqabad. “On February 27, we came to know that my husband was admitted in GTB hospital. I could not talk to him because he was seriously injured. On March 3, he died,” she said.

Nazish said if the government would have desired they could have controlled the riots on day one. She alleged that the government allowed the bloodbath for three days.

“Who will punish the culprits? The culprits are sitting in the government. We got compensation, but are worried about the education and future of our children,” she said.

A local resident of Shiv Vihar pleading anonymity said they know many of the rioters but cannot name them because of the fear. “We know many people who supported rioters on that day. We cannot name them because we have to live in this locality,” he said.

Two people including 92-year-old Sharif khan died in Shiv Vihar, Gali Number one.

Delhi police role

Questions have been raised over the role of Delhi police. Minority Commission fact-finding report has revealed  that Delhi police remained a mute spectator when rioters were torching houses and ransacking properties.

Delhi police have registered FIR in all the killings and the investigation is on.  Some families said Delhi police did not give them post-mortem reports. Delhi police used to say that the documents are lying with the crime branch.

Woman and children most affected

Women and children were most affected by the riots.  Houses have been renovated, but they have yet to become homes. Women are waiting to shift to new houses. Students are worried that schools have not been reopened. Women are shouldering a huge responsibility of nursing the wounded and overseeing the renovation of the houses.

Social communal scenario

As many as 11 mosques, five madrassas, one dargah, and one graveyard were damaged in the riots. The report noted that no religious place of non-Muslims was damaged in Muslim areas during riots.

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