India: 34 die, 200 injured as pro BJP supporters rampage Muslim areas in Delhi

27th Feb 2020
India: 34 die, 200 injured as pro BJP supporters rampage Muslim areas in Delhi

By Abdul Adil

 

(The Muslim News): The death toll in the Indian capital New Delhi from the violence rose to 34, officials said Wednesday.

More than 200 people were also injured in the deadliest violence North East Delhi has seen in years. Hundreds of Muslim homes, businesses, cars, mosques, madrassas were attacked, many torched.

An 85-year-old woman, Akbari, is among those who died in the brutal attack by pro-BJP supporters. She was trapped inside her home in the neighbourhood of Gamri Extension after a mob set it on fire on Tuesday morning. Her son told NDTV that his mother was on the third floor of their home when her four grandchildren saw that a mob was approaching their home to set it ablaze.

“At around 11 am, the children said there’s no milk at home. So I went out to buy milk. While returning, my son called up to say that about 150 to 22 men have reached home. I don’t know if they were Hindus or Muslims. The children had locked the gate from inside,” Akbari’s son Saeed Salmani said.

His four children, all between 15 to 20 years, too were inside the home. Among the four children were two girls.

“My mother was on the upper floor and got trapped. I could not go inside as people said they will kill me too,” Mr Salmani said. “The children kept calling asking saying ‘Papa, aa jao, bachao hamein (Papa, come and save us),”.

Trapped inside her home, Akbari had burn injuries on her hands and died of suffocation. The children managed to survive.

The violence began after pro-Hindu Nationalist ruling party BJP supporters attacked peaceful protesters against clashes, controversial citizenship law,  after an inflammatory speech by Kapil Mishra, a leader of the BJP.

He had given the police an ultimatum to clear those protesting the citizenship law failing which, he said, people would hit the streets.

Delhi High Court on Wednesday urged police to file FIRs against those making hateful and inflammatory speeches. The court’s observation came after speeches made by four BJP leaders, including Union Minister Anurag Thakur and local leader Kapil Mishra (whose rally in northeast Delhi on Sunday afternoon has been accused of inciting violence), were played in open court, prompting Justice S Muralidhar to assert “the court would not allow another 1984 scenario”.

Soon after, a group of protesters supporting the law — flanked by police officers — entered the protest site. A video on social media showed men chanting “Jai Shree Ram,” or “Hail Lord Ram,” a slogan synonymous with right-wing Hindus, before starting throwing stones.

Over the next two days, they set fire to homes, shops, buses, mosques, motorcycles, and also beat unarmed men with sticks, iron rods and stones.

In another video that has gone viral, one member of a Hindu mob is seen scaling the minaret of a mosque in Ashok Nakar neighborhood and placing a Hindu religious flag of Hanuman and flag of Indian. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making his first official statement since violence erupted on Sunday, said he had held “an extensive review of the situation (and) police and other agencies are working to ensure peace and normalcy”. Calling for calm, he tweeted: “Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers to maintain peace and brotherhood. It is important that calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest.”

[Photo: Destruction of Muslim homes and businesses by pro BJP supporters during the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Delhi, India on February 26, 2020. Photographer: Javed Sultan/AA]

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