Violence affects lives of people across religions

Some mourn the death of loved ones, others still searching for missing relatives; injured queue up at city hospitals

Updated - February 27, 2020 10:45 am IST

Published - February 27, 2020 01:36 am IST - New Delhi

A man injured during the violence in north-east Delhi is being brought to GTB Hospital for treatment on Wednesday.

A man injured during the violence in north-east Delhi is being brought to GTB Hospital for treatment on Wednesday.

From a 22-year-old, who was allegedly shot and hacked to death less than a fortnight after his wedding, to a 50-year-old who was returning home to tend to his ill wife, the violence that erupted in several parts of north-east Delhi over the last three days transcended and impacted lives beyond religions, occupations and repair.

Victims continued to be wheeled into Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital throughout the day on Wednesday. While a majority of them were rushed to the emergency ward with visibly serious injuries, some were driven solemnly towards the mortuary.

Amid loud crying and shrieks of grief outside the mortuary , the family members of those who lost their lives in the violence were inconsolable, with many blaming the alleged absence of police and paramilitary personnel for the deaths of their loved ones.

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On the other side of the hospital campus, injured people, who had received initial medical treatment, recounted tales of unbridled and inhumane horror.

“When we saw his body at the nursing home, there were injuries under the eye and on the head. His body was burnt and the clothes were sticking to it,” said Yasmin (35), the sister-in-law of Mehtab, 22, who was mentally unwell and allegedly killed by a mob.

“He was little slow mentally from birth, but he worked as a labourer and fed the family. He wanted to drink tea. He said the situation was normal and stepped out to buy milk around 5 p.m. He returned without milk by 5.20 p.m. By that time, people from the Hindu community in our area had locked a gate that leads to our houses,” Ms. Yasmin said.

As Mehtab started to walk away from the gate to take a different route to the house, Yasmin alleged, a group of people stopped him. They, she claimed, were chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and were wearing helmets and had sticks in their hands. They allegedly took Mehtab away by force as he yelled “Bhabhi, bhaiyya, save me...”. By the time the family got the keys [of the gate] from a neighbour, the group had left the area and it was too late, Ms. Yasmin said.

“We were shouting and shaking the gate, but could not open it. Then we got a call on Mehtab’s younger sister’s mobile phone and the caller claimed: ‘Mehtab ko aag ka hawala kar diya ’. When we reached the nursing home later, he was dead. Mehtab did not even hear us for the last time. There was no policeman. The police was hand-in-glove with the [rioters],” she alleged.

The family of garment trader Vir Bhan Singh, 50, a resident of Karawal Nagar, had gone to a relative’s house in Krishna Nagar on Monday. “Around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, he was returning to his house in Karawal Nagar where his daughter Khushi (14) and unwell wife were present, when he was shot from a building,” said his brother-in-law Bhagat Singh. “He was shot from the area of the Muslims. Here every street has been blocked by them,” said Rajat Sadh (27) a relative.

“He got married just 11 days ago,” said Asma Khatoon whose 22-year-old nephew Ashfaqe Hassan was allegedly was killed after being shot multiple times and attacked with swords in Old Mustafabad. “The doctors told us he had sustained five bullet injuries as well as injuries inflicted by a sword. He got married on February 14. We don’t know how to face his wife,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Samad was sitting on a pavement opposite the emergency ward. The 21-year-old had a swollen right eye and reluctantly showed the other which had blood trickling down from it.

“I was attacked while I was praying at Farooquia Masjid in Mustafabad, by a mob on Tuesday afternoon. There were 100-150 people who barged inside the mosque. None of them said anything. They just started assaulting us,” he alleged.

Mohammad Asif, a 20-year-old tailor who stays on rent in Ghonda and had multiple fractures, said: “My landlord asked me to vacate the house. I packed my things and walked out of the house and was caught by a mob. They asked my name. I told them and they began hitting me with iron rods,” he alleged.

There were many people searching for missing family members at the hospital. Mohammad Qadir, from Bijnor said: “My 18-year-old brother, Aftab, is missing since yesterday [Tuesday]. He had come to Delhi for a welding job. We lost touch with him last morning. I called up his friends whom he was scheduled to visit. They said he was beaten up badly by a mob and is in the hospital. I am looking for him since morning. They have been asking me to check back after ten minutes, but there is not trace of him,” he said.

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