FARIDABAD: Muslim residents of Atali, a village in Ballabhgarh roiled by communal violence, are spending their nights at a city police station since Monday as they had no place to go because their homes were burnt and their neighbours turned foes.
According to Indian Express, 150 Muslims fled their homes for fear of life. The violence in Atali began Monday evening, the flashpoint of a five-year dispute over the construction of a mosque. Adjacent to a temple, the mosque was torched and the Muslims of the village fled. They have since been camping at the police station. One tent, four desert coolers, one carpet and two porta cabins — that’s the sum total of the facilities made available to them.
“We don’t have food. We don’t have clothes. We have to depend on people in the city. The children are falling sick in the heat. When we told members of the minority commission about this, they gave us the coolers,” said Nizam Ali who lived three houses away from the torched mosque.
The administration has provided food, but the Muslims camping at the police station say it is too little. “Much of the food is coming from well-wishers, local NGOs and relatives. Bananas, rice, some rotis and dal. That’s all we have eaten in the past few days,” said Mumtaz who has now run out of money to buy milk for her 5-year-old son.
A delegation of Muslims had returned to the village to check the extent of damage to their homes. But they hurried back. All agreed going back was not an option, not as of now.
Faridabad Police Commissioner Subhash Yadav said many families don’t want to go back home because they feel that it is unsafe. “They went back under police protection on Wednesday and realised that most of their homes have been completely burnt. They are staying at the police station and we’re trying to make other arrangements.”
At the police station, everyone has an ordeal to narrate and cellphone photographs to share. “All our money has been looted. The school books have been burnt. Our clothes are gone. We have nothing left. How can we go back?” asked Fakrudeen Haji who had a transport business.