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And Then There Were None: The Story Of Delhi Riots

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The title of this article is always relatable whenever there is an event of violence and escape. Agatha Christie had also written a novel by the same name. India is a country, rather, an umbrella, with people from multiple castes, religions, ethnicity and races, and this fact has been very well established for thousands of years.

In my view, being the Capital, New Delhi has always been privileged and unfortunate at the same time to witness prosperity and violence. People normally fear what they don’t understand: religion and politics. These two areas have the power to either unite or divide, whatever people like to have. Every time there is violence, there is a mob that is blamed for riots, and then there are none!

In my opinion, the BJP-led government has had a one point agenda—Divide and rule—since its inception. Despite knowing about a country-wide dissent against CAA/NRC/NPR, the government is enforcing and destabilising peace and harmony of the civil society. For the last three days, areas in North-East Delhi, namely Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Chand Bagh and Karawal Nagar have been under severe threat and violence.

फोटो साभार- सोशल मीडिया
Main streets in these neighborhoods are in shambles, with stench of burnt vehicles and plumes of rising smoke.

Considering the situation, a curfew has been imposed in these areas, along with shoot-at-sight orders. With all this nuisance, almost 20 people have lost their lives, including a policeman, Ratanlal. Delhi Police spokesman MS Randhawa told reporters on 25th February that the situation is under control and a “sufficient number of policemen” had been deployed. Paramilitary forces have been deployed as well.

But the police have been accused of being under-prepared and outnumbered. Had it been an hour or two, there could have been the argument of the police being unprepared. If it had come out of the blue while the US President was visiting New Delhi, one might have argued that the Home Ministry was blindsided. If it were taking place in a hard-to-reach part of the country, one could have said that the terrain has made things difficult.

Main streets in these neighborhoods are in shambles, with stench of burnt vehicles and plumes of rising smoke, said BBC Hindi’s Faisal Mohammed. He said that he saw a partially-burnt mosque, with pages from the Koran lying strewn on the ground. Another mosque was allegedly vandalised on the afternoon of 25th February. A widely shared footage on the internet shows men trying to rip the crescent from the top of a mosque minaret.

Eyewitnesses have said several members of the mob were carrying guns and there are reports of shots being fired from rooftops. Hospital officials have also confirmed that many of the injured have gun shot wounds. Eyewitnesses in Jaffrabad have allegedly said that several young men armed with iron rods and stones were chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

Shops, cars and e-rickshaws belonging to the minority community were set ablaze in Maujpur and Ghonda while the police looked over, some residents said. The crowd assaulted youths who were taking photos of the arson. A petrol pump was set ablaze, a tyre market was burnt, and houses and shops were destroyed.

kapil mishra
“I appeal to everyone to stop violence as it will not lead to any solution,” Kapil Mishra on the violence in North-East Delhi told ANI on 24th February. Image Source: ANI

One of the BJP leaders, Kapil Mishra, was seen provoking the mob in front of DCP, Delhi and hinted at the upcoming stress and outrage, according to news reports. Still, no action has been taken against him! As if defaming Shaheen Bagh was not enough! Kapil Mishra is allegedly known for his illogical, irrational and anti-Muslim statements. Meanwhile, readers should know that Wajahat Habibullah, Ex. CIC and interlocutor appointed by Hon. Supreme Court of India, has filed an affidavit in the court blaming Delhi Police for road blockade, not the peaceful protesters.

Even international media has started reporting these crimes. “This kind of communal violence has left a lasting mark on Mr. (Narendra) Modi’s legacy. In 2002, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat State, sectarian riots left more than 1,000 people dead—almost 800 of them Muslims who were killed by Hindu mobs,” The New York Times reminded its readers.

“He and his state government were accused of quietly ordering the police to stand by as the violence raged,” the newspaper said, adding that Modi had denied the charges and a panel for the Supreme Court had found no evidence to charge him.

In my opinion, never has a protest in support of any act or law been observed. However, people have spoken against them. It seems to be a prima facie state-sponsored riot to target Muslims, or whoever is against the state. Police have their intelligence network, forces, powers and they are letting the mob create violence. For the last two months, people have been protesting in Shaheen Bagh and in many cities of India, yet there has been no violence. As soon as the supporters got on the roads, there’s violence. How?

Reports indicate the stoppage of an ambulance, which could have saved someone’s life. Is this a way to protest; regardless of support or against a law? Mahatma Gandhi has taught us non-cooperation and non-violence in any circumstance. Are we following it? Now is the time (or may be it is too late) to introspect. Life is more precious than the Hindu-Muslim debate. After all we are all Humans.

Log toot jate hain ek ghar banane mein,
Tum taras nahi khate bastiyan jalane mein. 

(People break while building a house for themselves,
And you do not even flinch while setting a neighbourhood on fire.)

-Basheer Badr

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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