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The wolf pack's prey

As rioters wallowed in the rampage, eyewitnesses narrate horror tales that hit the Muslim populace, instigated by roving, armed men who wished to burn down their homes 'one by one' and launched savage attacks, backed by the 'men in uniform'

New Delhi: "I have not slept in three days," 26-year-old Sharjeel said, perched on the roof of one of the houses at Kardampuri.

With salt all over his face to reduce the burning from tear gas shells and smells of petrol-splattered from the bottle bombs that were being hurled by CAA supporters from Maujpur Road, he said: "I have seen four people die in front of my own eyes since 7 this morning."

He added that the Maujpur-Babarpur area woke up to riots for the third consecutive day on Tuesday as CAA supporters flanked and surrounded their neighbourhood from both Maujpur and Gokalpuri sides early in the day.

According to more than a dozen eye-witnesses who spoke to Millennium Post, around 7:30 am, large battalions approached Kardampuri bridge from Gokalpuri and Maujpur — but what they did not realise was that mobs of sword-wielding, gun-toting and stone-pelting CAA supporters were right behind the men in uniform, who suddenly got out of the way as the mobs zeroed-in on the main bridge that enters into the colony and the riots began once again. "We had just barely returned home to get some shut-eye when we heard gunshots again in the morning," Sharjeel said.

The anarchy, which had begun on Sunday night after BJP leader Kapil Mishra gave an ultimatum to the Delhi Police to clear anti-CAA protesters from Jafrabad and Chand Bagh areas of north-east Delhi, exploded into a full-blown communal riot as violent mobs set fire to an entire park in Yamuna Vihar and groups of pro-CAA agitators gathered people in small pockets to "attack and burn the houses of Muslims".

The CAA supporters had divided themselves into small factions headed by one leader each, who gave instructions to burn down Muslim homes "properly from the inside".

The geography of the Maujpur-Baburpur area is intrinsic to fathom how the riots are being organised to target communities who have been leading anti-CAA protests. Maujpur Road is flanked by a long drain on the right-hand side, beyond which are colonies like Kabir Nagar and Kardampuri and on the left are neighbourhoods, including Yamuna Vihar and Vijay Park. Towards the north is Gokalpuri, which was blocked by CAA supporters and towards the south is Maujpur Chowk, which was also obstructed by violent CAA supporters — with the common objective of storming the largely Muslim-dominated colonies through the narrow bridges over the drain and "burn their homes one by one".

There is a service road running parallel to the sewer that provides for entry into the neighbourhood, which is cut off by barricades and three to four policemen. Beyond this barricade, there is no police personnel deployed in the Muslim-dominated colonies where CAA supporters intend to run riot.

Meanwhile, around 200 police personnel and paramilitary officers in riot gear are on Maujpur Road roaming around with pro-CAA members who raised slogans of Modi tum lath maro, hum tumhara saath denge and Delhi Police zindabad.

Every single tear gas shell fired by law enforcement authorities on Tuesday in the area was fired from the area where the CAA supporters were rioting — towards the Muslim colonies, which were leading the anti-CAA protests in the area till Sunday. Not a single shot was fired by police towards the CAA supporters, who were pelting stones, burning vehicles, homes, shops and whatever else that came their way.

According to eye-witness accounts of the riots, at least 25 people were injured due to stone-pelting, gunshot wounds and rubber pellets on Tuesday itself — just in Kardampuri.

This reporter saw men with four bodies waiting for rioting to die down before being taken to the cemetery.

On the one hand, Sharjeel and other eye-witnesses consistently maintained that over 13-15 had died on Tuesday. "Just today (Tuesday) morning, a 60-year-old Muslim man was shot in the head by CAA supporters and I had to see his brain splatter on the road as I ran for my life," Sharjeel said just before disappearing into the lanes of Kabir Nagar as reports of a child being shot came in.

On the other hand, a huge number were nursing their wounds from bullet injuries at home, out of fear that if they manage to reach a hospital they would be questioned by authorities instead of being treated.

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