Even as the stench of burnt houses and vehicles is still afloat in the air in riot-affected Northeast Delhi, residents allege that the perpetrators of the violence came from outside as there was no tension between Hindu and Muslim neighbours who were living together for years now.
“We have been living here for decades; there has been no tension in this area. But some elements poisoned the minds of our Hindu neighbours with hatred,” said Noor of Maujpur’s Vijay Park, the epicentre of the violence.
In Maujpur, houses of both Hindu and Muslim communities were destroyed by the rioters on Monday.
According to a Muslim resident of Vijay Park, while the crowd pelted stones at their houses shouting “Jai Shree Ram”, not even a scratch was allowed to come by the local Muslims to the Hindu temple inside the colony. “They set fire to our properties; they even tried to come inside our colony. We fought for our self-defence. But you can see we have not let anyone damage the Hindu temple inside our colony. For us, they are our neighbours. We have even saved many of our Hindu friends who were stuck during the violence,” said Tarique, a resident of Vijay Park.
This is not the only such incident of a humane approach in riot-hit northeast Delhi.
In Gali Number 22 of Chand Bagh, a Honda showroom owned by a Muslim man was set on fire by miscreants at midnight on Tuesday. While all the neighbours are Hindus, as soon as the neighbours came to know about it, they themselves doused the fire as there is no space for fire brigade to enter the lane. “At that moment, the fire was important for us. Be it in a Hindu property or Muslim. We called the fire brigade too, but we did not receive any response. So we started dousing it on our own and saved the showroom,” said Alakesh Mishra, a resident of Gali No. 22.
In Mustafabad, where the dark smoke from the ashes of the houses burnt during the violence is still alive and a masjid and madrasa were set on fire, people alleged that rioters came from outside and burnt down a medicine shop owned by a Hindu. “95% of my customers are Muslims. Despite calling the police, they did not come and the rioters set fire to my shop,” said Jitendra, the shopkeeper. He also added that it were the Muslim friends of the neighbourhood who tried to save his shop from the rioters.
“He is a good friend of mine. When I saw them setting fire to his shop, I tried to stop them. But they did not listen to me and instead beat me up,” said Mohhamad Babar. Pradip, another resident of Mustafabad, said, “I am a Hindu. I feel very secure here as my Muslim friend assured me that they would not let anyone harm me.”
“Though it is a Muslim majority area, there are Hindu families in each and every gali. Both Hindus and Muslims have been living peacefully here for the last 30 years. All five temples in this area are safe and were not touched by anyone. The miscreants came from outside. No local people were involved,” he added.
With inputs from Abhinandan Mishra and Dibyendu Mondal