30 March 2020   5. Sha'aban 1441
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Friday, 13 March 2020 09:16

Aftermath of Delhi riots

After the capital's worst religious riots in decades, violence has mostly abated. But hundreds of wounded are languishing in understaffed medical facilities. Corpses are still being discovered in drainage ditches. Victims are still dying in hospitals. The death toll has reached 53 and most of the casualties are Muslims.

Muslims comprise about 14% of the population - nearly 200 million people in Hindu-majority India. In New Delhi, mosques have been burned, schools looted and thousands of families displaced.

Police are facing accusations from victims, witnesses, human rights groups, opposition politicians and Muslim leaders worldwide that they failed to protect Muslim citizens, and in some cases, even incited attacks themselves.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed "great concern," and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom notes the allegations come amid "efforts within India to target and potentially disenfranchise Muslims."

Tension had been building for weeks over the Hindu nationalist government's new citizenship law, which excludes Muslim refugees. New Delhi saw a growing number of street demonstrations. Some ruling party politicians labelled Muslim protesters "traitors" and even called for them to be shot.

"No help from the government"

At Al-Hind Hospital in Delhi's New Mustafabad neighbourhood, one of the worst-hit by violence, Dr Meraj Ikram walks past a row of beds, rattling off each patient's injuries: gunshot, gunshot, gunshot, shot at close range with a tear gas canister.

Inside the main ward at Al-Hind Hospital in north-eastern Delhi, the only doctor on duty on a recent day was a dentist who had volunteered to help, but had never treated gunshot wounds.

Authorities have since registered more than 600 official complaints and detained nearly 2,000 suspects.

Videos recorded show police throwing stones and egging on Hindu mobs. In one clip that's gone viral, police taunt five Muslim men lying on the ground, wounded. The officers force them to chant patriotic slogans. The message is that if you're Muslim, you have to prove your loyalty to India.

The violence began with isolated attacks February 24, when Indian security services and media were all focused on President Trump's first official visit to the country.

BJP officials demanded that police clear out protesters from the capital once and for all, or they'd take matters into their own hands.

On the night of February 25, violence erupted as Trump departed. Mobs torched Muslim homes, targeting Muslims indiscriminately.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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