Divided in violence, united in grief: Families of dead say hate is to blame

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Feb.Sat,20/05:49:33 PM

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Astha Saxena, Jignasa Sinha

Delhi violence: “If this is not stopped, people will keep losing their children. He should be arrested immediately,” said Solanki, who lost his eldest son in the clashes on Monday. Rahul Solanki (26), who had left home to buy some groceries, was on his way back when a bullet hit him on the neck.

Delhi violence: A grieving relative of Rahul Solanki. The family blamed BJP’s Kapil Mishra for instigating the violence. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

At hospitals in northeast Delhi on Tuesday, grief knew no religion.

Sitting outside the mortuary of Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital was Hari Singh Solanki (69), who lost his eldest son in the clashes on Monday. Rahul Solanki (26), who had left home to buy some groceries, was on his way back when a bullet hit him on the neck.

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His family members blamed BJP leader Kapil Mishra for instigating violence in the area — relatives of some of the others killed or injured too blamed Mishra, and many demanded severe punishment.

On Sunday, Mishra, a former MLA from Karawal Nagar, had threatened anti-CAA protesters and issued an ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get Jafrabad and Chand Bagh road cleared of protesters.

“If this is not stopped, people will keep losing their children. He should be arrested immediately,” said Solanki. His family alleged that no private clinic agreed to admit Rahul, and he died while being taken to GTB Hospital. His younger sister, posted as an ASI at Mumbai airport, was scheduled to get married in April.

Rahul is among the 20 people killed since clashes broke out in Northeast Delhi on Monday. The victims include Delhi Police head constable Rattan Lal (42), Shahid Khan (22), Deepak (34), Mudassir Khan (35) and Mohd Furkan (32). The rest are yet to be identified.

Delhi violence: The violence that escalated on Tuesday has left over 250 injured. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

The violence that escalated on Tuesday has left over 250 injured — they have been admitted to GTB Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital, Jag Pravesh Chandra Hospital and Max Hospital, Patparganj. At GTB Hospital, which received the most patients, many of the injured have sustained bullet injuries.

“We have received 150 patients; 13 people have died so far. Five persons, including a policeman, died on Monday and the remaining deaths were reported on Tuesday. Half of the injured have received gunshot wounds. We will explore whether these are pellet injuries or by country made pistols,” said Dr Sunil Kumar, medical director, GTB Hospital.

Many of those who died on Tuesday were injured on Monday.

Till Tuesday evening, only one autopsy had been performed. Delhi Police head constable Rattan Lal’s body was handed over to his family as other families waited for their turn. These included the family of Shahid Khan, an auto-rickshaw driver and resident of New Mustafabad, who was shot on the right side of his stomach while he was dropping a commuter.

 

Originally from Bulandshahr, Shahid got married last September. “We came to Delhi six years ago, and have never seen such violence. This is all because of Kapil Mishra, who instigated people. The post-mortem is yet to be done. We have been waiting to take his body to our home in Bulandshahar, where our mother lives,” said his brother, Imran (25).

On Tuesday, the list of the injured kept swelling with each passing hour. The Emergency ward of GTB Hospital saw the injured being brought in auto-rickshaws, cabs, two-wheelers and police vans.

 

Mudassir Khan, an auto-rickshaw driver, was declared brought dead at GTB on Tuesday afternoon. According to his family, he had stepped out to buy some groceries when he was shot in the head. A resident of Khardampuri, he is survived by his wife, Ashyana, and two children — a one-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.

Delhi violence: A mob attacks a person at Khajuri Khas crossing in Delhi on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

“Around 4 pm, l was informed that 10-15 men had approached him, and someone had shot at him…. We tried to call the police and an ambulance but nobody came to help us,” said Ashyana.

Mudassir’s friend, Aashu Khan, said they were afraid to return home. “The situation is tense on the streets. People are destroying our shops… But Mudassir wasn’t even protesting, why was he targeted,” he said.

Salim Khan (52), whose son Mohd Aasif (32) was shot on his right shoulder, said: “After his (Mishra’s) speech on Sunday, the situation turned violent in our area… People who used to be friendly neighbours have turned against each other,” he said.

Waiting outside the Emergency ward, relatives of the injured narrated how difficult it was to reach the hospital, with the roads blocked and rioters not giving passage to ambulances.

Vivek Chaudhary (19) was brought to GTB Hospital with a motor machine drilled in the left side of his head. His friends said he was going to Shiv Vihar, in Karawal Nagar, on Tuesday morning when he was attacked. They alleged that a group of men asked for his name and ID, and when he didn’t give the information, they pushed the motor into his head.

“The 1.5 inch part of the motor is still inside his head. The doctors have said his condition is critical. He is an only child,” said his friend Paras.

 

Zulfi Khan (32), a resident of Yamuna Vihar, sustained a bullet injury on his left ear on Monday afternoon. His relatives rushed him to hospital, but were unable to return home due to the violence. “We have been here since 8 pm on Monday, and there is no way we are going back. We’ve told our relatives not to step out of home,” said Zulfi. His father, Sayed Israr (65) said he was beaten up by a mob and his cycle was broken when he was was his way to hospital.

Zaidi (12) is among those who have been admitted at GTB Hospital. A Class VII student, Zaidi had gone out to look for his younger brother when he was shot in the hip near Ghonda Chowk, while he was trying to help another youth, lying injured on the road. “I fell down on the ground. The other boys in the locality rushed home to inform my family,” he said.

Delhi violence: Rapid Action Force and Delhi Police personnel at Khajuri Khas, Tuesday. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

 

Brought to the hospital on a motorcycle, Rajbir (45) was shot in the face. “He was not protesting, he was just sitting outside his house. We don’t know what happened… we heard a gunshot and saw him lying outside the door. His wife was crying. We got our bikes out, and brought him here,” said Himanshu Pal, a neighbour.

Rahul Thakur (22), a resident of Brijpuri, was shot in the chest while he was standing outside his house. “We managed to get the ambulance in 10 minutes, but a group of men tried to stop us while we were on our way to hospital. We managed to drive through, and got him here. He is now in the ICU,” said his friend. Sourav Sharma.

Babbu (32) sustained injuries during stone-pelting at Khajuri Khas. “He is an autorickshaw driver and was parking when a mob of 25-30 people attacked him with stones. He was found lying in the middle of the street. We tried to call an ambulance but couldn’t get one. Desperate, we called the police,” said Kaif, his friend and neighbour.

Meanwhile, at least 22 injured people are reported to be stuck at the Al-hind Hospital in Mustafabad as no ambulance has been able to reach the area. According to doctors, 10 of the injured have sustained serious injuries — bullet injuries and stabbing. “A team of doctors is ready at Hamdard Hospital but the ambulances are not able to reach Al-hind Hospital,” said Harjit Singh Bhatti, national president, Progressive Medicos & Scientists Forum.

This story first appeared in indianexpress.com on February 26, 2020, more…