Astaghfirullah utters an elderly local when he sees burned copies of Quran on the shelves of Farooqia Jama masjid. The mosque was set on fire along with the protest sit-in site and madrasa during the Anti Muslim pogrom which broke out on the last week of February in Northeast Delhi. Eyes moist and face down he hurries away to the rubbles as police have warned not to stop nearby.
Farooqia Masjid was heckled and torched on 25th February, the third day of Delhi violence. “ It was after Magrib prayer, people were inside the masjid when mob along with police entered,” alleges Mohammed Faqrudeen, president of Farooqia Jama masjid.
Although prayer resumed on Friday on the terrace of the Mosque, believers and media are restricted from entering and reporting the damage inside the mosque. Locals are warned not to speak against the police.
“ Our imam, mua’zzin (caretaker) and haji Abbas were inside along with three others who hid inside the bathroom,” Faqrudeen recalls. “They were trashed horribly by the police. The mob tried to set them ablaze.”
Farqudeen claims that seven people were killed in the firing and attack near the mosque. Maktoob team met two kin of two killed, Zakir and Mehtab Ali, near the masjid on that day. we couldn’t independently identify others.
The attack took place less than an hour after the Hindu-Muslim unity march was organised against the ongoing violence.
“ my brother went for prayer and was killed by police firing,” Gulfam claims. His brother was visiting him.
Later that night Muslims from Mustafabad mobilised and arrived to rescue and retaliate against the mob. “ they took our people to hospitals and came out to protect us,” Faqrudeen adds.
The police came back for Madarasa next day and trashed the place. About twenty students hid on the terrace. “ We all have videos of them entering the Madarasa.” Mohammed Aarsh told Maktoob.
Videos of Police entering madrasa are surfacing in social media. With allegations piling up against police, government and forces remain silent on these claims.
Mufti Tahir, Imam of the masjid was hospitalized along with Mohammed Jalaludeen and Haji Abbas. They recovered from critical condition and are shifted to other hospitals due to security.
Half a dozen mosques are charred and reduced to rubbles in the violence in Northeast Delhi. In Shiv vihar, gas cylinders were used to blow up houses and masjid. ‘Jai Shree ram’ is inscribed on the walls to dishonour Muslim faith.
In Ashok Nagar, a Hanuman flag was placed on the minaret of the masjid, after setting ablaze the sacred place.
“ Amidst all the anxiety, call for prayer never stopped in Farooqia masjid,” says Arif Ali, brother of Mehtab Ali who was lynched and then burned near Farooqia Masjid.