25 Feb 2020 Delhi: Salmani received a call from his younger son. An armed mob of around 100 people had entered their lane in Gamri extension, around 1.5 km from Khajuri Khas in Delhi, and were setting shops and houses on fire. Their four-storey house, too, had been torched, and his family had sought refuge on the roof.
When Salmani ran towards his lane, people from neighbouring lanes restrained him. “They told me it was too dangerous, I could be killed, and I should just wait because what’s happened has already happened,” said Salmani, a 48-year-old owner of a readymade garments business. “I was stuck for hours, thinking that my family was dead the whole time.”
While most of his family survived the arson, Salmani’s mother, 85-year-old Akbari, died in the fire on the third floor of their house. The building itself was burnt, including the family’s tailoring workshops on the first two floors. Salmani claims that the mobs also looted him of Rs 8 lakh and all the family jewelry stored in the building. “I have nothing left, I am zero,” he told Scroll.in.
Later that morning, at around 10.45 am, Ansari claims a large mob returned, chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and other anti-Muslim slogans, and began attacking people and homes with stones and petrol bombs.
“This went on for more than two hours, during which they also broke into our Masjid, vandalised everything inside and burnt our Quran,” said Ansari. A local medical store, bakery and other establishments in the area were also set on fire, he said.
“They tried to burn one Muslim man too, but he was saved by a local Hindu family,” Ansari said.