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Horrors of the Delhi Riots: We only found my brother’s foot

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Horrors of the Delhi Riots: We only found my brother’s foot

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The right-wing Hindu pogroms against Muslims erupted in India’s capital city of New Delhi on February 23, after months of tension and protests over two anti-Muslim policies supported by the national government. India has a long history of tension between Muslims and Hindus, and flashes of anti-Muslim violence, but Islamophobia has been stoked by the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Just an hour after police were instructed to clear out the protesters, Hindu mobs took over the streets, including in Shiv Vihar. Over the next four days, they covered their faces with masks and wore helmets as they beat people to death and burnt houses, shops, schools, mosques. Some Muslims fought back. Over four days, at least 52 people, including several Hindus, were killed, and more than 350 people injured.

Vice talked with some of the Muslims who witnessed the riots and were affected by it. The tales that they’ve told are inhumanly cruel.

Once such tale is of the family of 58-year-old Anwar Qassar, who was killed in the riot in Shiv Vihar. Qassar’s daughter, Gulshan, 27, her husband, who is blind, and his brother Saleem, cried and consoled each other outside the mortuary doors.

“The mob gathered outside and dragged my brother out. Then they destroyed everything in his house, making a big fire in the street out of his things.”

Then, Saleem said, they killed Anwar. He saw it happen from a Hindu neighbor’s home where he and his family were hiding. “They shot three bullets at him; then they threw him inside the fire. They burned my house down, too. I was watching everything through a window but couldn’t do anything.”

“We only found my brother’s foot,” Saleem said. “We are waiting here to take that as his body.”

Dr. Anwar who helped in taking care of the injured said that while some of the injured will recover, every patient and family he saw was traumatized. He said Muslims are now afraid when they see any indication of Hindu nationalism — uniforms, slogans like Jai Shri Ram, even the vermillion stripe many Hindus wear on their foreheads.

“They are terrorized. When such a tragedy happens, you lose faith in humanity.”

Also read: As the violence against Muslims continues in Delhi riots, a poem by Indian activist goes viral

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