Delhi violence: From amid the bloodshed, emerge stories of hope, brotherhood
In the middle of the communal violence and bloodshed that gripped parts of north-east Delhi this week, stories of Hindus and Muslims protecting each other stood out as a beacon of hope.
In Brijpuri, Muslims residents and their Hindu neighbours came together to protect a temple located about 100 metres from a mosque that was vandalised and burnt by a mob on Tuesday.
Standing outside the Farooqia Mosque on Thursday, resdients Mohammad Tariq and Madan Singh spoke of amity.
“We saw a mob entering the lane where the mosque is located and within minutes, they set the mosque on fire. After some time, another mob entered the area and tried to move towards the temple. We, along with our Hindu neighbours, formed a human chain and stopped rioters from reaching the temple,” Tariq said.
Standing next to him, Singh, a local shop owner, said, “We had been living here in harmony for years and some outsiders tried to destroy that. Our Muslim brothers were not involved in the violence. They, in fact, protected our temple.”
In Indira Vihar, seven of eight Hindu families have moved out in fear, but the family of Tara Devi has been guarded her Muslim neighbours for the past two days.
Devi, an Asha worker, said she has been living in the area for the past 35 years. “On Monday, when our neighbours were leaving to stay with their relatives, many Muslim men tried to stop them. They assured us that no one will be harmed and that they will protect us,” she said.
On the main road of Indira Vihar, Muslim residents are guarding a temple round the clock. On Thursday, Naushad (61), a tailor, was sitting outside the temple with two others. “They (Hindus) have left the area...But we are sure they (Hindus) will come back. How will we face them if anyone destroys the temple?” he said.
In Ganga Vihar of Gokalpuri, at least 24 Muslims were saved by Hindu neighbours after a mob entered their neighbourhood Tuesday, locals said. While most of them moved to their relatives’ or friends’ houses in the aftermath, some are staying put at home.
Sarita Kumari, a homemaker, said, “When we got to know that a mob was attacking Muslims in our area, we called two families in the locality and asked them to rush to our home. They (mob) have completely destroyed our Muslim neighbours’ houses. We have been living here since last 30 years. How could we let them die?”
Mustafabad, too, had similar stories to share. Dalbeer Singh, a shopkeeper, said, “We grew up together as friends...We (Hindu residents) have formed a group who are sitting outside the houses of Muslims round the clock. We cannot let anyone touch them.”