People from both communities said Delhi police miserably failed in doing its duty.
New Delhi: From Sunday till Monday night, when the communal violence was at its peak in northeast Delhi, Delhi police made sure that it played an “unbiased role” as distress calls made by both Hindus and Muslims, who were facing rioters, at number 100 elicited no help.
The standard reply that the distressed individuals from both the communities got was: “Force has been sent, it will reach your place soon.” However, that “soon” never came.
The Sunday Guardian visited multiple areas where riots took place in the first half of the last week and it was evident that the rioters had no fear of law as mangled heavy shutters that were secured with locks and would have required considerable time to break, suggested. And like the Delhi police, the rioters, too, made no discrimination while targeting buildings, both residential and commercial, as properties of both Hindus and Muslims were looted, burnt or both.
“Our first reaction was to dial 100, which we did and told them of the situation. We were promised that the police force is reaching the spot. It never came. The policemen were stationed on the main road; it would have taken them less than five minutes to come, but they did not, neither that day, nor the next,” a shop owner whose shop is in Vijay Park near Maujpur metro station said.
The Sunday Guardian spoke to an IPS officer who was on Wednesday given the charge, as a temporary measure, of one of the disturbed areas. Officially, the said officer is posted in another department of Delhi police.
The officer accepted that the force had failed in its duty for the initial two days. “If they had done their duty, I would not have been asked to come here. I am also hearing what you are saying (that police did not do its duty on Sunday and Monday),” he said as he walked around inspecting the damage in the Khajuri Khas area.
Scores of residence of the affected areas, both from the Hindu and Muslim communities, were uniform in saying that Delhi police miserably failed in doing its duty.
People from both the sides agreed that they had to take “law” in their own hands to save themselves. “With police not coming, we had to save ourselves on our own. We barricaded our bylanes with vehicles and wood planks to stop outsiders from coming into our society where families from both Hindu and Muslim communities have been staying together for years,” a group of youth from Maujpur recalled. The same was the sentiment among locals of Chand Bagh.
“The rioters came in intervals. We can understand that police not turning up in the initial one hour, but what explains their not turning up for more than 24-30 hours,” asked a man, in his 80s. His son’s shop was burnt in Brijpuri.
(With inputs from Dibyendu Mondal and Pratyush Deep Kotoky)