‘We lost a brother’: Hindu, Muslim families in Delhi share grief

Saddar-Ud-Din had been waiting for his son’s body at the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital since Monday evening. His 32-year-old son Mohammad Furqan was killed by Hindu mob in the Kardam Puri area of northeast New Delhi.

He was among dozens of people who waited on Wednesday outside the mortuary at the GTB hospital to receive the bodies of their relatives.

The death toll on Thursday climbed to 34 in the worst religious violence to have hit India’s capital in decades, with the police, in many instances, accused of siding with Hindus and against Muslims.

Around 3:15pm on Wednesday, Furqan’s body, wrapped in shrouds, was brought out on a stretcher and handed to his family.

“Furqan died on Monday and since then we were waiting for his body,” 64-year-old Din told Al Jazeera.

Din alleged that his son, who worked in the family handcrafts business in Kardam Puri, was shot in his leg and abdomen by Hindu rioters around 4pm on Monday, barely 150 metres from his home.

Furqan, a father of two, had gone out to fetch food items for his children when he was shot by a mob amid chants of “Jai Shri Ram” or Hail Lord Ram, his family said.

Din said witnesses told him that Furqan fell down after being shot, and then the mob beat him with sticks.

“He lay on the road for nearly half an hour before he could be rushed to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw. That led to huge blood loss and ultimately to his death,” he said.

‘This is like 1984 anti-Sikh riots’
Din, who also lives in the mixed, working-class Kardam Puri neighbourhood, told Al Jazeera that the violence unfolding in the capital reminded him of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, in which more than 3,000 members of the minority Sikh community were killed.

“Hindus and Muslims have been living in harmony for decades in the area. I’ve not seen such a situation in decades. This is like 1984 when Sikhs were massacred. Today it’s the Muslims,” he said.

Thousands of people have been demonstrating for weeks over a controversial new citizenship legislation, passed by President Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, which makes it easier for non-Muslims – but not Muslims – from neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship.

The violence erupted on Sunday after groups of Hindus attacked peaceful sit-ins organised by Muslims against the citizenship law, or Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Critics say the legislation passed last December is against the secular ethos of the officially secular nation of 1.3 billion people.

Leaders from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, have vilified protesters, calling them “anti-nationals” and “traitors”.

The violence was triggered a day after BJP leader Kapil Mishra warned Muslims to end their sit-ins in Maujpur near Jaffrabad metro station or face his supporters’ wrath.

“Three days’ ultimatum for Delhi Police – clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. After this, we won’t listen to you,” he declared in a video posted on his Twitter account.

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