Delhi

‘All we want is to go back and see our burnt houses’

RAF personnel escorting riot-hit residents returning to check their homes in Shiv Vihar on Saturday.  

All that 69-year-old Ramzana wants is to go back to her vandalised and burnt house and see what remains of it. She hasn’t been able to go back to her Shiv Vihar residence, where she had been living for decades, since Wednesday.

Ramzana and hundreds others who resided in Shiv Vihar have taken refuge in Indra Vihar, across the road, in houses of people who have opened their doors for the victims. Their houses were burnt and looted by a mob earlier this week.

“When we tried to go back, security personnel deployed outside the street said that you can go at your own risk. We haven’t been able to go to our own houses,” Ramzana said.

Ahmadeen alias Guddu who ran an electrical shop close to his residence in Shiv Vihar said that he has little knowledge ofwhat remains in his house and shop. “My mother is diabetic, I had gone to get her medicines and some clothes but no security officer escorted me despite repeated requests. I returned. Half an hour later, I heard that a group of people misbehaved with a few who had gone to check on their houses,” Ahmadeen claimed, adding that some women were escorted by security personnel to their houses.

Recalling events

Around 20 women and children sat huddled up in a corner of a dimly lit room. They have been there for the last four days, they said.

While recounting the events which led them to take shelter in Indra Vihar, 45-year-old Mumtaz showed a large hole in the dupatta she wore; “Look at what happened when they were throwing acid...the signs are still here,” she said.

“We ran to save our lives leaving behind all our belongings. Both my husband and daughter are currently being treated for acid injuries. There is still no word on whether he’ll be able to get his eyesight back as his eyes are still bleeding. Look at what we have been reduced to,” she added.

A resident of Shiv Vihar, 32-year-old Zahida claimed that the area “is still not safe” to venture out to visit their homes.

“We have been here since Tuesday and have not been able to go back to even collect our belongings, or whatever is left. Soon after we fled, some of the neighbours informed us and showed pictures of how our houses have been gutted. Even today when a couple tried to go back home to check, they were threatened by some people and sent back. What are we supposed to do? People are saying that everything is fine now. But if it was indeed “all fine” then why would we still be here?” Ms. Zahida said.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:37:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/all-we-want-is-to-go-back-and-see-our-burnt-houses/article30954100.ece

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