“My only crime is that my name identifies my religion,” says an Indian Muslim man who miraculously survived being shot in his left eye with the bullet exiting behind his ear, but hasn’t had justice.
The shooter, a Hindu, had shouted “Victory to Lord Ram!,” the popular Hindu god, and pulled the trigger. The attacker is still unpunished.
As the first anniversary of bloody communal riots that convulsed the Indian capital approaches, Muslim victims are still shaken and struggling to seek justice, Sheikh Saaliq reports from New Delhi.
Many say they have run repeatedly into a refusal by police to investigate complaints made by Muslims against Hindu rioters. Some hope the courts will come to their help. But others believe the system under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist-led government has become stacked against them.
Victims’ accounts and reports from rights groups indicated that leaders of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the New Delhi police force had tacitly supported the Hindu mobs.
The riots left 53 people dead, most of them Muslims. Police have insisted that their investigation has been fair.
Many believe the catalyst for last year’s riots was a fiery speech by Kapil Mishra, a leader from Modi’s party. On Feb. 23, 2020, he gave police an ultimatum, warning them to break up a sit-in by demonstrators protesting a new citizenship law Muslims say is discriminatory, or he and his supporters would do it themselves.
When his supporters moved in, it triggered pitched street battles that quickly turned into riots. For the next three days, Hindu mobs rampaged through the streets hunting down Muslims — in some cases burning them alive in their homes — and torching entire neighborhoods.