On 24 and 25 February, mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram” travelled through a road that runs from Bhajanpura to Ghonda Chowk in northeast Delhi, on foot and on motorbikes. Located in north Ghonda, the road borders B Block of Subhash Vihar, popularly known as Subhash Mohalla among its residents. The Muslim population of Subhash Mohalla is primarily concentrated in that block. According to its residents, on 25 February, the mob tried to enter the block, and burnt shops and homes belonging to Muslims in other parts of Subhash Mohalla. The residents said they called the Delhi Police for help, but to no avail.
On 23 February, Kapil Mishra, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, gave an incendiary speech in northeast Delhi, following which communal violence swept the area, with multiple accounts of Hindu mobs attacking Muslim neighbourhoods. When I visited Subhash Mohalla in 29 February, the residents described how the mob had attacked the locality on 25 February by firing charras—pellets, shot from country-made guns—in their lanes. They said that the rioters shot one man dead and left three men injured in B Block. While Subhash Mohalla has a sizable number of both Hindus and Muslims, the rioters seemed to only target areas with a significant Muslim population.
According to the residents of B Block, at around 9 pm on the night of 25 February, a mob armed with guns and chanting “Jai Shri Ram” tried to enter Subhash Mohalla’s B block via one of its lanes, Gali Number 3. Residents of the block tried to fend off the mob by blocking the lanes. The mob started firing pellets into their lane—multiple residents said that the firing continued for an hour to two hours. The residents resorted to stone pelting to keep the rioters at bay.