India is perhaps seeing the worst riots in recent years, and the capital city is in the heart of it. With 34 people confirmed dead in the last three days, and more than 150 injured in Delhi violence which has taken a communal color, we are seeing stories ranging from the worst that sends a chill down our spine and also stories that give hope.
After surviving the partition, an 85-year-old woman, Akbari, was burnt to death after an armed mob of around 100 people set her house on fire in Gamri Extension near Delhi’s Khajuri Khas area. “My children and wife ran but my mother had difficulty moving because of her age,” Akbari’s son Mohammed Saeed Salmani, who was out buying milk at the time, said.
A mosque in Ashok Nagar was set on fire late on Tuesday afternoon. A mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Hinduon ka Hindustan” paraded around the burning mosque, and a Hanuman flag was placed on the minaret of the mosque.
The Faroqiya Masjid in Brijpuri Puliya near Mustafabad in North East Delhi was also allegedly set on fire on Tuesday evening at 4 pm by a Hindutva mob, according to bystanders. The school beside it, Arun Modern Higher Secondary School was also set on fire. Locals informed the media that there were children inside the mosque and school at the time, and the mob had locked the doors and were not letting anyone out. A rescue was arranged by locals in the area through a back door.
Late into the evening of February 25th, armed and masked men were setting fire to jhuggis (slum dwellings) and vehicles in Mustafabad in North East Delhi, while the police looked on.
As we are filled with horror over these stories of Delhi violence and while people struggled to save themselves from the aggressors, Gurdwaras have opened their gates for Muslim families fleeing from riot-infested zones. The Sikhs not only helped people seek shelter, they also patrolled the area to ensure no rioter can cause further damage.
In such trying times, people are standing in unity against the dividing forces.
In one part of Delhi, a gurdwara opens its doors to Muslims and anyone who needs shelter.
In Seelampur, Dalits blocked the roads against mobs, sheltered their Muslim neighbours.
Police and politicians have forgotten their duty; but the people have courage and heart.#DelhiRiots
— Nilanjana Roy (@nilanjanaroy) February 25, 2020
25 muslim families who were hiding in hindu family houses in shyam vihar since yesterday were escorted by police & brought to Mustafabad hospital today evening. These families on arrival said they are alive bcz hindu neighbours protected them from RSS/BJP goons. This is my India
— Harjit Singh Bhatti (@DrHarjitBhatti) February 26, 2020
Many took to Twitter to share the heartwarming stories of people extending support to each other and offering help in whichever capacity they can.