The violence in northeast Delhi which has been raging for the past four days, has put in peril the lives of many who perhaps had remote association with the riots, but bore its consequences nonetheless.
Police said a 13-year-old girl, who had gone to school to take an examination in the Khajuri Khas area three days ago when the violence peaked, has been missing since then.
The girl, a Class 8 student, lived with her parents in Sonia Vihar suburb and had gone to her school, some 4.5 km from their home, Monday (February 24) morning but has not returned since, they said on Wednesday (February 26).
While her father, who deals in readymade garments, was supposed to pick her up from school, he was caught in the violence on his way. “I was supposed to pick her up from school at 5.20 pm. But I got caught in the violence that unfolded in our area. My daughter is missing since then,” he told police. A police officer said a “missing person” FIR has been registered and the search was on to find the girl.
Another man, a resident of Vijay Park in Maujpur, said his family members, who were trapped in a house in Shiv Vihar for two days, were also unreachable since Tuesday night.
“I have one house in Shiv Vihar, near Medina mosque. Two of my children live there, two live here in Vijay Park with me. Due to the violence in the area, I could not reach them and have lost connection with them since last night,” Mohammad Sabir, around 70, said.
“They had told me yesterday about mobs surrounding the house and they had managed to escape but I have no clue where they are now. The situation is tense in the area and my appeal to the police is to please help us,” he told PTI.
Choked to death
In another case, Akbari, an 85-year-old woman was choked to death after a mob set ablaze her house in Gamri Extension of northeast Delhi, NDTV reported. According to her son Saeed Salmani, Akbari, was on the third floor of the house when her four grandchildren saw a mob approaching their house.
Saeed said he had gone out to buy milk and received a call from his son who informed him that some 150 to 200 men have reached their home.
“I don’t know if they were Hindus or Muslims. The children had locked the gate from inside,” NDTV quoted him as saying.
While the children escaped the house, Akbari who was on the higher floor was trapped inside. Saeed said he couldn’t go inside as the mob threatened to kill him if he tried to. They set the first floor on fire which spread to the other floors.
Akbari’s body was recovered after 10 hours after firefighters doused the fire at 9.30 pm on Tuesday.
Beaten for protecting women
Feroz Akhtar, a differently-abled man, was beaten with sticks by a mob inside a mosque in northeast Delhi’s Mustafabad. He is among the many victims who are being treated at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.
The 42-year-old tailor received severe injuries to his head, back and shoulder.
Recalling the incident, his wife Sanjeeda said her husband and 20-year-old son, Danish, were among many others from the locality who had rushed to a protest venue to safeguard the women who were on a sit-in in a nearby area on Tuesday.
“My son returned after a while, but my husband was still there. As soon as I got to know about incidents of stone pelting and firing, I called up my husband and asked him to return since he won’t be able to rush in case of any emergency,” she said.
Sanjeeda said her husband who had rushed to a nearby mosque was dragged out of it by a mob and beaten up. After a while, she received a call from an unknown person who informed her that her husband was at his place currently. “I was very scared and did not trust the caller,” he said, adding that he had given him first-aid and asked her to come to his house to take Akhtar.
“Later, he made me speak to my husband who said he won’t be able to return or go on a bike even if I send our son to him,” she said.
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The unknown caller informed Sanjeeda that he had admitted Akhtar at Al hind hospital, Mustafabad from where she, along with her two sons, managed to take him to LNJP. “With the help of my sister who stays in Jamia, we managed to arrange for an ambulance and with the aid of police we managed to reach LNJP from Bhajapura at around 2.30 am,” she said.
However, on the way, near Signature Bridge, stones were also pelted at the ambulance, she added. Nainital-resident Amar Jahan had come to Wazirabad at her brother’s place just two days ago to get her daughter treated at LNJP. “The situation is very tense. We could not sleep the entire night because we feared someone would attack us. I somehow managed to get a van and brought my daughter for treatment today. I don’t feel safe enough to go back home,” Jahan said.
Since Monday, over 45 people injured in the violence were brought to LNJP. Out of them, bodies of Mehrum Ali (32), a resident of Bhajanpura, and Aman (17), a resident of New Seelampur, were kept in the mortuary for post-mortem, police said, adding three injured were brought to the hospital on Wednesday. Most of them have been discharged after first-aid while some of them are still being treated, they said.
At least 34 people have lost their lives and more than 200 got injured in the violence that unfolded in Maujpur, Jafrabad, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Shiv Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Ghonda, among other residential pockets in northeast Delhi since Monday. The Delhi Police said they have registered 18 FIRs and arrested 106 people for their alleged involvement in the violence so far.
(With inputs from agencies)