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Monday 17 February 2020

Delhi neighbourhood recounts terror of Jamia students

Residents of New Friends Colony, 550 m from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, recall the mayhem unleashed by the activists in their area

Now that the boisterous crowd rioting in the name of protesting against the amended citizenship law is receding, residents of New Friends Colony, a few kilometres away from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, have begun narrating the terror unleashed by the activists in their area.

Video service Know the Nation has shared several spine-chilling stories of the rowdies that dominated the streets in the past three days.

A resident of New Friends Colony, Delhi, said, “My driver’s bike was set on fire and thrown under the bus which later caught fire too. We were scared for our lives!”

Another resident of the neighbourhood in Delhi said, “Anyone can come us and harm us. Our kids play outside all the time. This is very, very scary.”

“We felt really insecure and kept checking with our relatives staying nearby. They were destroying public property,” said a neighbour.

“The manner of protest was not justified. It was obvious that miscreants were behind it!” added another resident of the Delhi locality.

Busting the claim by the opposition that the protesters were “peaceful”, “innocent” and merely “students”, a trader with a business interest in New Friends Colony said, “Protestors from Jamia came in and set buses on fire. Our shops were forcibly shut down. We ran for our lives!”

New Friends Colony of Delhi is a neighbourhood through which a thoroughfare, replete with public and private modes of transport, passes. The road, connecting the Ashram Chowk to the Escort Heart Institute and the Holy Family hospital, is lined up with shops, with a greater concentration between the Mata ka Mandir and the commercial complex diametrically opposite to the Escorts hospital.

This place is just 550 m away from the Jamia Millia Islamia campus and the Muslim-dominated Jamia Nagar (3.2 km) and Okhla Gaon (2 km).

A watchman on duty in the area at the time of the riot of 16 December said, “As soon as we heard the noise we rushed inside & locked the doors to save ourselves. A private car in the opposite house was even damaged by the rioters.”

The abject callousness and apathy of the rioters towards people’s properties could be understood from what the next resident of the area had to tell. “They burnt the DTC buses & smashed the private cars. Poor bus passengers were crying because their luggage & earnings got left behind in the bus. We definitely felt insecure,” the next neighbour in the area said.

He added, “Students who have political affiliations and had an axe to grind with the government were behind it. A particular leader incited the mob that they won’t be able to wear topi, burqa etc.”

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