New Delhi: The communal clashes in northeast Delhi were nothing like what septuagenarian Haseeb Ahmed, who has witnessed the 1984 and 1992 violence, had seen in his life.
Ahmed, who worked as a furniture worker and has now been retired for almost 10 years, is settled at Maujpur area, one of the main pockets where rioters ran amok after clashes between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CA) and those who are against it.
“I came to live here in 1981. It’s been 39 years and there have been incidents in 1984, 1992, but nothing had happened here,” the 70-year-old man said. “But this is the first time that I have seen people from outside coming here, attacking homes and people, and vandalising and setting properties on fire,” he added.
Ahmed lives at the Vijay Park neighbourhood, home to both Hindus and Muslims, but tension prevailed in the area Wednesday, with several locals recounting their horror stories of staying awake within their homes that were surrounded by mobs.
“This place has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, and has been exemplified as a model of unity and brotherhood,” Ahmed informed.
“It’s a really bad situation and I can’t describe what the scene was like…. I have witnessed something like this for the first time,” Ahmed said, hoping that normalcy is restored soon.
Ahmed, who has two sons and daughter-in-laws, said his family buys vegetables near the house from two Hindus, whom he described as ‘brothers’. “We kept buying vegetables from them till their stocks lasts. Now, even they don’t have any left to sell,” informed the furniture maker.
“The situation is too risky to venture out for purchasing. There are mobs that are ready to attack anyone they find,” the septuagenarian said. He added, “We’ll manage it someway, the Almighty will help.”
At least 24 were killed and over 200 injured in the violence that unfolded in Maujpur, Jafrabad, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Shiv Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Ghonda in northeast Delhi since Sunday.
A brittle quiet settled over parts Wednesday as police and paramilitary personnel in large numbers descended on the roads of the riot-hit areas, keeping mobs away. The Delhi Police said they had registered 18 FIRs and arrested 106 people for their alleged involvement in the violence.
Ahmed was satisfied with the fact that peace has prevailed among the locals in Vijay Park, but hoped the government would put a check on ‘outsiders who disrupted the ambience’. “There is peace, calm here. There is no fight within the neighbourhood. It’s only outsiders who are causing trouble,” he claimed.