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HomeIndia2 years on, scars of northeast Delhi riots still haunt victims

2 years on, scars of northeast Delhi riots still haunt victims

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (PTI) Two years have passed but the pain of losing their loved ones continues to haunt the kin of victims of northeast Delhi riots, with many of them finding it difficult to make their ends meet.

The riots, which went on for three days, had erupted in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.  As northeast Delhi became the epicentre of violence, clashes also broke out at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas, Bhajanpura, Dayalpur, Gokalpuri and other areas.

Every year, the last week of February clouds the minds of Gulshan Bano and her visually-impaired husband Mohammad Nasiruddin with the ghastly memory of the death and despair caused by the riots two years ago.

They shudder when they think how, on February 25, 2020, a mob allegedly shot her 60-year-old father Mohammad Anwar and then set him ablaze.

Nasiruddin says he still remembers the trembling voice of his father-in-law who had warned them against coming to Delhi as the situation had worsened in their Shiv Vihar locality which was among the worst hit.

“Everything has changed since then. He was shot. They poured kerosene over him. He was set ablaze by the mob. All we found was a charred leg from his rented house where he lived along with his goats,” he added.

His wife Bano works at a private company in UP’s Hapur district.

The family of Naresh Saini, who used to earn his living selling vegetables, are still trying to come to terms with the fact that he is no more.

His two children, an eight-year-old girl and seven-year-old son, still hope that their father will return home one day after his treatment is completed.

Recalling the fateful night of February 25, Rajiv Saini, the deceased’s brother said Naresh had closed his shop and returned home. But he suddenly remembered that he had to purchase medicines.

When he went out, a huge mob targeted him and he was shot at, he said.

He was being treated at Guru Teg Bahardur Hospital where he breathed his last on March 4.

“The only scene that his children recall is their last meeting with their father at the GTB Hospital. They still believe that their father is alive and is undergoing treatment. “We also have not disclosed anything to them. With time, they will also understand that their father is no more and will never return to them,” he added.

When asked about Naresh’s wife, Rajiv said she is struggling to meet her ends meet.

Even after receiving a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, half of the amount went in paying the loan that was taken jointly by the brother’s to build a house, he said.

“She is struggling to move ahead in life. She looks after Naresh’s vegetable shop to feed her two children. The future looks dark as she has no idea how she would raise and educate her children without her husband,” he rued.

Among those who lost their lives also include a 42-year-old Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal. The then Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara, Amit Sharma and then ACP (Gokalpuri) Anuj Kumar were also severely injured while trying to quell the protests.  The Delhi Police formed three SITs in its Crime Branch to probe 62 important cases, including 53 cases of murder and rioting.  A separate case was registered to unearth the conspiracy behind the riots, which was probed by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police while the remaining 695 cases were investigated by northeast district police, officials said.  According to a data provided by the northeast district, charge sheets have been filed in 353 cases and the court has taken cognizance in 293 such cases.

The data further stated that charges have been framed in 87 cases, the fate of 16 cases have been decided, conviction has been announced in two cases, 244 supplementary charge sheets have been filed and the total number of arrests made is 2,041 so far.

According to the report of the Delhi Assembly’s Minorities Welfare committee, as on January 18, 2021, 3,425 applications were received for compensation, of which 2,221 were approved. Rs 26,09,78,416 has been paid as compensation, 1,179 rejected or were duplicate applications.

It stated that Rs 1 crore each has been paid in two separate death cases where victims were government employees.

Police officials said the probe was focused on collecting electronic or documentary evidence which were analysed to extract details of the incidents and accused persons.   Post riots, the northeast district police said it is working on two-fold strategies while dealing with riot cases.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast) Sanjay Kumar Sain said, “To conclude the investigation in a fair and professional manner on merits, we are taking every possible measures — from strengthening district and riot cell to ensuring better coordination between investigating and the prosecution team and to arrange better legal services an guidance to our investigating officers.” Most importantly, measures are being taken to evolve a mechanism so that such riots are not repeated in future, the officer said.   “For that we have created a forum — Nagrik Bhai Chara Samiti — at the district level by selecting seven members each from police station of the district. We have also launched a programme named ‘Ummeed’ to bridge the gap between different communities and between police and public as well as to build cohesive environment so that broken mutual trust can be repaired, he said. PTI AMP VIT TDS TDS

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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