Muslims form human chain to save temple in Delhi

Published : February 27, 2020 16:04 IST

The destroyed mazaar in Chandbag, Delhi. Photo: Divya Trivedi

In the violence that engulfed parts of Delhi for three days, stories of communal harmony and humanitarian acts stood out as beacons of hope. While at least four mosques were desecrated by mobs, a temple in a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood was protected by individuals who sustained grievous injuries in the process.

Frontline verified that the three mosques were indeed attacked—the Farrukiya mosque in Mustafabad while namaz was going on; the Jamia Arabia Madinatul Uloom in Gokalpuri; and a mazaar on the main road in Chandbagh which was burnt with tyres and glass bottles of petrol. The fourth one in Ashok Nagar, where men climbed the minaret and planted a saffron flag on it, was videographed and went viral on social media.

Barely metres away from the mazaar in Chandbagh that was gutted is the Durga Fakiri Mandir. As a Hindu mob finished its destruction of the mazaar and poured into the lanes wreaking havoc, Muslims retaliated by pelting bricks back at them. In the melee, it was feared that the temple would be attacked either by the Hindus, in order to put the blame on Muslims angry at their mazaar being torched. Muslim men of the bylane, with great presence of mind, quickly mobilised themselves and got into action and formed a human chain around the temple to protect it from miscreants.

According to eyewitness accounts, personnel of the Delhi Police came with the Hindu mob and threw tear gas shells, grenades and bricks on the Muslims. Frontline found shells of tear gas on the terrace of a Muslim home that was set on fire by the marauding mob. A young boy in his twenties, who was part of the human chain, said a grenade hit him on his stomach. Another was hit on his head with a brick. On February 26, the fourth day of the violence, when the Rapid Action Force held a flag march through the area, these two men were at home, unable to step out for treatment. “The moment we try to venture out of the locality, the men in uniform abuse us, asking us to get back in. Despite calling the ambulance, nothing has arrived,” they said.

The women of the locality said: “The cops disappear at night and we are left to patrol the lane by ourselves. We are living in constant fear and have not slept for two nights. You people talk about secularism, is this what you mean by it?”