“They asked us for our house keys. The face covered goons had weapons in their hands. They demanded that we run away because we are Muslims and said we had no right to stay in our own houses,” Parveen recounts.
Parveen, with her husband Rahees and two daughters, now live in a relief camp at Mustafabad.
She had to flee her home at Shiv Vihar, during the anti-Muslim violence that erupted in Northeast Delhi last week. She narrates how they were intimidated and made to run away from their own houses leaving all their belongings.
“We gave them the keys and ran way. If we had not done that, they would’ve broken our heads. We could hear women and children crying. While we ran for our lives, barefoot, we saw houses and shops being burnt. We saw that only Muslims were running away, only our shops and houses were burnt. No Hindu had to run, their houses and temples were protected.”
Sameem, another resident of Shiv Vihar showed us her injured feet.
Sameem said she had to jump off from the first floor of the building with her small children when the mob came and threatened the family.
“They had petrol bombs and gas cylinders. They were chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and setting fire to Muslim houses. There were thousands of them. The police were also there. The police were guarding the goons,” she told Maktoob.
Eleven-year-old Apsara and Alfia were coming back from school when they saw a mob pelting stone, chanting ‘Jai Shree ram’.
“We saw a man being cut with a sword. We saw them throwing something with fire into the masjid. We saw our Quran being burnt,” Apsara explains.
The girls have no idea about what had happened to their houses.
“We saw people writing ‘Jai Shree ram’ on destroyed Muslim houses. They were also plugging in saffron flags to these houses.”, little Apsara recounts.
Apsara and Alfia have no idea whether they would be able to go back to school again.
Sixty-year-old Bilkis Banu showed us the pictures of her burnt house and shop.
“After the Maghrib azan was given, we were inside the house, praying. We heard some noises and came out to see the front side of our house burning. We ran outside with our children,” she narrates the ordeal.
“Our house and shop were in the same building. We recently bought a new vehicle. They did not leave anything. We are left with nothing now. We don’t know where to go,” she added.
All the women, who shared their experience with Maktoob, had to narrate stories of terror. They could not console their children who keep crying to go home.
Some of these women tried to go back home but could only find it looted, or fully burnt.
All the women we talked to alleged that their houses were looted.
They even had to face comments such as ” Why did you come back?? Do you want to get killed?, from the local Hindus.
There are hundreds of Muslims, all residents of Shiv Vihar at the Eid Gah chowk camp in Mustafabad.
These Muslims once had a house, a family, a life. But now they are broken and left with nothing other than the memories of some horrible days.
They are torn between the sorrow of losing their loved ones and the fight for survival. They say they have no hope in anyone including the national media.
“What is the use of saying it all over again. The media doesn’t want to show what happened in Shiv Vihar. We show them how our masjids were burnt, how our children were killed. But they do not show that. We tell them that the attackers were chanting ‘Jai Shree ram’. They do not want to show what happened to us. They are backing the government. Everyone is deceiving us,” a woman opened up in anger.
Fayiza CA studies MA, Media Governance at Jamia Millia Islamia and a regular contributor of Maktoob