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Saved from rioters by Hindu neighbor: Muslim survivor

New Delhi: Amid the mayhem witnessed in northeast Delhi, another tale of humanity and compassion getting the better of bigotry and hate was scripted, which was narrated by a Muslim resident of Shiv Vihar on Friday — how his Hindu neighbor saved his and his family’s life.

“Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, a mob of at least 500 persons arrived in our locality and burnt down my car. Since we were no more safe, I escaped along with my wife and children and took refuge in a Hindu brother’s house in the neighborhood even as the mob burnt alive my older brother who lived nearby,” Saleem Kassar, 48, was quoted as saying.

“The neighbor kept us in his house for the night. The next day, he and his wife helped me and my wife dress up as Hindus. While he applied a ’tilak’ on my forehead, his wife put vermilion and colored dot on my wife’s forehead. Then only did we step out and took refuge in Mustafabad area,” he said.

Kassar said his dead brother, 52, was the only bread earner of his family, including a married daughter and a visually impaired son-in-law, who lost his eyesight four years ago, and their two children.

The survivor said that the violence in northeast Delhi was worse than that witnessed in 1984 against the Sikhs after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

He said three others were also killed in Shiv Vihar. “One person was locked inside his car and the vehicle set afire in front of my eyes. I narrowly escaped death. I think the rioters come from the Uttar Pradesh border. A few were from Shiv Vihar itself, who are history sheeters. All had their faces covered with cloths or helmets,” Kassar said.

Meanwhile, a forensic team on Friday visited the Chand Bagh area to collect evidences from the residence of AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and also the spot from where the body of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer was recovered on Wednesday.

The forensic team arrived at the residence of Hussain, a day after Delhi Police booked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader for allegedly inciting rioting and in connection with the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma.

Delhi Police had sealed Hussain’s house on Thursday. The forensic team visited all the floors of Hussain’s residence-cum-commercial complex in Chand Bagh and collected scientific evidence.

The team then reached the sewer from where Sharma’s body was recovered on Wednesday. The team collected blood samples and other materials from the spot and also from the boundary walls along the drain.

Sharma’s father has alleged that Hussain and his supporters were behind the murder of his son. The forensic team also visited the other buildings adjacent to Hussain’s residence that bore the brunt of the rioting that took place on Monday and Tuesday.

Late on Thursday night, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party had announced that it had suspended Hussain until the probe against him was over.

On Thursday, a large cache of bottles meant for petrol bombs, acid pouches and stones were recovered from the rooftop of Hussain’s house. Hussain is an AAP municipal Councillor from Nehru Vihar.

Hussain’s house came under the scanner after a number of videos on social media showed 100 to 150 people pelting stones, hurling petrol bombs and acid from his rooftop.

The violence has so far claimed 43 lives besides injuring over 200 others. The 3 km stretch from Bhajanpura to Karawal Nagar still bore marks of the arson with torched houses on both sides of the road.

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