Kaushal Shroff(Journalist, Caravan Magazine): Close to 6 pm on 24 February, a small group of around ten Delhi Police constables standing near the Fahan International School in Yamuna Vihar, a predominantly Hindu neighborhood in north east Delhi, charged towards a crowd of Muslim protesters who stood across the nearby Wazirabad road. According to residents, since 11 am that day, the road had become a site of violence between a Muslim group protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and a Hindu mob that stood alongside the policemen. The Hindu rioters comprised a ragtag bunch of teenagers, young adults and older pot-bellied men, carrying iron rods, wooden planks and bricks in their hands. After at least half an hour of stone pelting, the constables and the mob charged at the Muslim protesters together, with a united cry of “Jai Shri Ram.”
At around 5.30 pm, I spoke to ahead constable outside Fahan International School, who requested not to be identified. He complained bitterly about being abandoned by the senior police machinery. “We are standing here from the morning and no help has arrived yet,” he said. “These behenchods”—sister-fuckers—“have burnt everything. They have set fire to the petrol pump, they have set fire to the nearby hospital, they have burnt ambulances, cars, bikes.” It was unclear whether the Hindu or the Muslim side had set these on fire.
When I(KAUSHAL SHROFF, Journalist at Caravan Magazine) asked the head constable about the strength of the stone pelters from the other side, he claimed that they were in the thousands. “Tumhe kya lagta hai, hum yahan pe bidaak kar kyun baithe hain?”—Why do you think we are cowering here. Referring to the Hindu mob, he added, “It is good that they are here, otherwise we were done for.” But at around 6 pm, the mob and the Delhi police were bolstered by hundreds of other Hindu rioters who descended on Wazirabad road. It was unclear where they came from, but it appeared that they had broken through barricades put up at one end of the road to join the fight against the Muslim protesters.