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Delhi riots: Family members collect bodies of loved ones from morgue

By PTI Updated: Feb 27, 2020 10:57 pm
A woman carrying a child walks past charred remains of vehicles set ablaze by rioters following communal violence over the amended citizenship law, in Yamuna Vihar area of northeast Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 27 (PTI): Mohammed Sahil had brought his 50-year-old wounded father to the GTB Hospital on a motorcycle two days ago, but on Thursday evening, he collected his body wrapped in a starch-white shroud.

Tears trickled down his cheeks as Parvez Alam’s body was wheeled into an ambulance on way to Muzaffarnagar, the deceased’s native place.

A grieving Sahil had been waiting anxiously at the GTB Hospital for the last two days and doctors handed over the body after conducting post-mortem.

The death toll in Delhi’s worst riots in more than three decades climbed to 38 on Thursday as the violence ebbed but did not subside completely and thousands of people began picking up the pieces of their shattered lives and livelihoods.

Asked where would he bury his father, Sahil said, “We have got ‘walid sahab’s’ (father’s) body, and we are taking it to Muzaffarnagar.”

“Our relatives are afraid to come to Delhi, so we are taking him to Muzaffarnagar, where the burial will take place,” the 26-year-old told PTI.

Alam was born in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh but had migrated to Delhi.

He had a garage in Civil Lines initially and then moved to Wazirabad, his son recalled.

“People, Hindus and Muslims, knew my father. He always stood for social harmony. But, all he got in return from society was a bullet in his back,” Sahil said.

Recalling the horror, Sahil, a resident of north Gonda area, said his father ran a garage and was trying to pacify people from both the communities to not engage in violence.

“As he stood near the door of our home last night, a bulled hit him in the back, and he collapsed. We ran after we saw him on the ground,” the weeping son recalled.

But, that was only the beginning of horror, says Sahil, who assisted his father in running the garage.

“We called 100 number for police but got no response, we tried emergency ambulance number, but again in vain. We then tried to reach out to police, but they did not help us,” Sahil alleged.

The northeast Delhi resident said he then requested a friend to “lend me his scooty” to travel to the GTB Hospital, about 5-6 km from his residence.

At the mortuary at the hospital, scenes of grieving family members added to the sombre ambience.

Bihar native Deepak Kumar, 34, who worked in a manufacturing unit in Gokulpuri in northeast Delhi was also among the victims.

Ajay Kumar, his brother wept as he collected Deepak’s body, wrapped in white shroud, from the morgue.

“We belong to Ara district. I and Deepak had moved to Delhi to make a living. Deepak’s wife and children are back home in Bihar. A bolt of lightning has fallen on us. What will I tell to his wife,” Ajay said, before leaving for Ara in an ambulance that carried his brother’s body.

Azra Khatun too was inconsolable outside the mortuary of the GTB Hospital, as she waited to receive the body of her nephew, Ashfaq Hussain (22), an Indira Vihar resident, who was killed during the communal violence in northeast Delhi.

“Hussain got married to Tasneem on February 14 and we were very happy, but fate snatched him from us,” Azra said.

Kejriwal announces INR10 lakh compensation for deceased’s family

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the families of those killed in the communal riots in Delhi, as he listed out several peace and rehabilitation measures for the city where 34 people have been killed and over 200 injured in the clashes.

Addressing a press conference here, Kejriwal also said an immediate relief of Rs 25,000 would be given to those whose houses have been burnt, while the government would also provide free books and uniforms to students who have lost them to the riot.

The violence mainly hit the northeast Delhi and localities such as Jafrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar are among the areas majorly affected.

Kejriwal said the Delhi government will bear the cost of treatment of those injured in the violence and have been admitted to private hospitals.

The families who lost any minor member would get INR 5 lakh as ex gratia, while those seriously injured will get INR 2 lakh, he said.

Those who have suffered minor injuries will get INR 20,000, and the orphaned children will get INR 3 lakh, he announced, adding special camps will be set up for people to get essential documents they lost in the arson.

He said round-the-clock helpline numbers for riot-affected people will be set up and four night magistrates deployed to coordinate relief and rehabilitation activities.

“The Delhi Financial Corporation will also provide subsidised loans to small businessmen who have lost their livelihood in the violence. If children have lost books, Directorate of Education will provide books and notebooks free of cost to children of both government schools as well as private schools,” Kejriwal said.

He said that INR 5 lakh, which includes INR 1 lakh to tenants, will also be provided to those whose houses have been totally damaged.

When asked about the alleged involvement of his party councillor Tahir Hussain in the riots, the AAP chief said no rioter irrespective of their party should be spared.

“If those involved in the riots are found to be from the AAP, give them double the punishment,” he said.

“An app will be developed by the divisional commissioner, through which citizens can lodge details of loss of property, loss of vehicles, damage to business, details of injury and death,” Kejriwal said.

Sonia-led Congress delegation meets President over Delhi riot

New Delhi, Feb. 27 (IANS)A Congress delegation led by party interim chief Sonia Gandhi met the President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a memorandum over the violence in Delhi. The party urged the President should intervene in the matter and sought the removal of Home Minister Amit Shah.

“Constitutional Office you hold, that the life, liberty and property of the citizens is preserved, secured and protected. We also reiterate that you should immediately call for the removal of the Home Minister given the gross ineptitude, abdication of duty and his inability to contain the situation.” said the memorandum.

The Congress delegation to the President said that he should direct the government, both central and the state, to act.

The Congress alleged that instead of taking active steps to remedy or diffuse the situation, the Central Government, as also the newly elected Delhi Government, have remained mute spectators as completely mindless rage, designed violence and organised looting of property, has continued unabated.

“Due to the complete inaction on the part of the Home Minister and the Central Government, the violence has claimed the lives of at least 34 people and over 200 have been injured at last count. Properties and businesses worth several crores have fallen prey to unchecked arson and looting.” said the memorandum.

The party raised question about the home Minister “where was the Home Minister and what was he preoccupied with since last Sunday that he was unable, apparently, to give his attention to these grave events? For that matter, the Delhi Chief Minister, and the newly elected Delhi Government was also completely missing from the scene.”

The party also raised the issue of intelligence failure. “There was clearly a shocking and, in this day and age, unpardonable failure of intelligence agencies leading up to these heart-breaking events.”

By PTI Updated: Feb 27, 2020 10:57:15 pm