Around thirty Muslims have sought refuge in the Al Hind hospital in Mustafabad, a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood in northeast Delhi that has seen some of the worst violence in the ongoing, targeted communal carnage in the national capital. The Muslims had been displaced from their homes, situated in the Hindu-majority areas surrounding Mustafabad, such as Karawal Nagar, Shiv Vihar and Govind Vihar. Many of them said mobs shouting “Jai Shri Ram” had vandalised their homes and set these on fire. On 26 February, many Muslim locals from these areas moved to Al Hind, a hospital that was already facing an influx of more patients than it had the medical or physical infrastructure to support, ever since the violence began.
In the immediate couple of days after their homes were set ablaze, their Hindu neighbours had provided the Muslims shelter. But they soon had to leave because the rioters threatened to destroy the homes of all those who provided refuge to Muslims. The ones who came to Al Hind included individuals who had suffered grievous injuries as well as those who did not have any other place where they could seek shelter. The stories of their struggle to reach a place of safety and the hospital administration’s determination to accommodate them give a glimpse into the desperate circumstances of the victims of the violence.
Amjad Khan, a resident of Govind Vihar who was seeking refuge at the hospital, recounted the events that led him there. “When the riots started on 24 February, I came home and there were crowds of young men roaming around with weapons creating mayhem,” Ajmad said. “We got scared and locked our house from inside. They started banging on our door. So our neighbours rescued us by getting us to climb on our roofs and into their homes. The rioters came to know the next morning and they pressurised our neighbours to give us up. We had to move to another neighbours’ home.”