India’s capital, Delhi, has witnessed a week-long violent attack on the Muslims by Hindu nationalists leading to the death of more than 40 with hundreds injured in what is called India’s worst violence in decades.
It follows that the violence had been triggered by weeks-long peaceful sit-in in New Delhi against the New citizenship law which discriminates against the Muslims.
Violence had erupted in the some parts of the capital when a politician from the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued out warnings to the Muslims against continuing with sit-ins or risk facing the wrath of the BJP supporters.
The violence which later spread to northeast Delhi’s Karawal Nagar, Seelampur, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Vijay Park, Jafrabad, Chandbagh, Mustafabad and Yamuna Vihar, has left over 40 people dead, over 200 injured and properties destroyed.
India’s Prime Minister, Neranda Modi has been accused of supporting the violence as nothing was done to stop it. Modi has a reputation of hatred and violence. Before being a Prime Minister, he has been accused of encouraging sectarian riots in 2002 when he was the Chief Minster of Gujarat. The riot left more than 1000 people dead, with about 90% of them Muslims.
The police have been accused of enabling, encouraging or even joining in with Hindu mobs.
The Anti-Muslim CAA Law
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was paved in December eases gaining citizenship for non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority nations.
It also aims to It aims to grant citizenship to “persecuted” Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians – and not Muslims – who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
The law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions and imposing its Hindu nationalist agenda on the nation.
Since winning a second term last year, Modi’s government has revoked the partial autonomy of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, and said it wants to conduct a nationwide citizens’ register to weed out “infiltrators”.(Aljazeera)
Sorrow, Tears and Blood
Mohammad Zubair, a 37-year-old Muslim laid in a bloodied ball as the baton blows kept coming. As the 30 strangers continue to beat him without stopping, helpless, Zubair closed his eyes, fell to the ground and prayed.
“The blows kept raining on my head, hands and back,” said Zubair, 37. “I did not ask them to stop beating me. I became silent, tried to hold my breath and stiffen my body.
First, I asked, ‘Why are you attacking me? What wrong have I done?’ But they did not listen to my words and went on hitting me from all sides. They were shouting maro shaale mulleko [kill the bastard Muslim] and jai Sri Ram [a Hindu nationalist slogan]. There were many other men who stood by who did not come to save me.”, tears rolled down his cheeks as he narrates.
The four days of violence is one of the most brutal religious violence in Delhi as mosques were set alight, Muslims were burnt right in their homes, some dragged out in the streets and lynched. Muslims properties were also set on fire.
Bloodied bodies, alongside discarded and burned-out cars, bikes, shattered glass and smouldering shop fronts grace the streets where Hindus and Muslims have co-existed peacefully.
Hindu mobs turned immigration officers as they asked people to show their ID cards. Anyone who refused or does not have would be forced to pull down his trousers to see if he is circumcised or not as Muslims are known for circumcision.
Imran Khan, 30, a street hawker who lives in Shiv Vihar, north-west Delhi, narrated his ordeal on how he was attacked when he was walking home on Monday evening.
“Some of them forced me to pull down my trousers,” he said. “They started beating me violently as soon as they became sure that I was Muslim.”
Armed with iron rods, crowbars and metal pipes, the Hindu mob beat Khan unconscious. Hours later, Khan became conscious and discovered that the Hindu mob who thought he had died, tied a rope around his neck and dragged him into a gutter.
“Among the 43 dead was Musharraf, a 30-year-old Muslim man. He was at home with his wife and children in the Bhagirathi Vihar area of Gokalpuri, north-east Delhi, when a mob of around 30 men with iron rods, knives and chains – many wearing motorcycle helmets so they could not be identified – broke down the locked door shouting jai Sri Ram.
“They cut the electricity, so it was all dark, and started smashing the house,” recounted Shakir, his brother-in-law. “His wife was calling the police but they did not come. Everyone got into the beds to hide but the men covered everything with kerosene and shouted: ‘Will you come out or do you want us to burn you alive?’.”
Shakir continued: “They smashed the bed where Musharraf was hiding underneath and he screamed, so they grabbed him and dragged him out into the street. The children ran out, too, and were screaming. His daughter, Kushi – she is just 11 – fell on the feet of those men, pleading ‘Don’t kill my father’. She tried to save him but they beat him to death in the middle of the street and threw him in the gutter.” (The Guardian)
According to the witnesses, the police supported the Hindu mob and those who called on them for help did so in vain.
Imam of Farooqia Mosque, Mufti Mohammad Tahir narrated his ordeal to The Observer. When the riot began, Tahir had himself locked up in an upper room of the mosque. Surprisingly, the Police broke the door and handed him over to the Hindu mobs who beat him till he became unconscious and smashed his limbs. The mosque was torched: shelves of dozens of blackened Qur’ans lined one wall and a bowl containing burned fragments of Islamic religious scripture sat on a table.
The Imam of Shiv Vihar mosque also had his face disfigured. On seeing the men, he had attempted to run away but was seized by the mobs and threw, on his face, a bucket of acid.
Meanwhile, in the Hindu-majority neighbourhood of Gokalpuri, a Sikh father, Mohinder Singh, 53, and his son Inderjit used their motorcycles to rescue around 70 Muslim men and children, the youngest just nine years old. They had been trapped in the mosque and madrasa, as a mob roamed the streets outside. Singh took the children two at a time on his bike, putting turbans on their heads as a disguise.
“I did not see if they were Muslim or Hindu, I did this for humanity,” said Mohinder. “I had to save them.”
Majinder Singh Sirsa, a leading Sikh politician in Delhi, said the community had opened up its gurdwaras for shelter, but had been attacked by hardline Hindu and Muslim groups for doing so. “We do feel the pain because we were also targeted 35 years ago,” he said, referring to the anti-Sikh pogroms in Delhi in 1984 where more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed. “Back then, Delhi was burning and humanity died. This week, it has happened once again.”
Aljazeera and The Guardian contributed to this report.