As Delhi limps back to normalcy after the three days of violence and arson in several parts of the city's northeast that claimed over 38 lives and left more than 200 injured, including policemen, the sense of fear persisted in residents' minds.
The residents of the violence-hit areas said they wanted early return of peace and harmony, but also pointed to the police inaction during the clashes.
On Thursday, the IANS correspondent visited several riot-hit areas of northeast Delhi, like Bhajanpura, Khureji Khas, Chand Bagh, Moonga Nagar and Karawal Nagar, to gauge the ground reality.
The people could be seen venturing out on streets, several vehicles plying and shops being opened.
Firoz Ahmed, whose tour & travels shop was torched by the mob on Sunday, said, "I have come to my shop after three days to access the damage." When asked if the situation had become normal, he said, "No, it's still tense. Many shopkeepers guard their establishments in the night to prevent any untoward incident."
In Khureji Khas, which was visited by Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Shrivatsava, the people expressed their yearning for peace and harmony. Several people also recounted the experiences that only strengthen the faith in general humanity.
Shagufta, a resident of Gokal Puri, said, "We were stuck in our houses during the violence. Our Hindu brothers of the colony ensured our safety. They shifted us out to Khureji Khas where our other family members lived."
"We are alive today due to them," Shagufta said.
Shahana, a woman from Bhajanapura who also took refuge at the home of her relatives in Khureji Khas, said, "After the violence broke out on Sunday, we were terrified. Our cloth shop in Bhajanpura was gutted."
"We feared for our safety. The next day our neighbours helped us to reach here and we are thankful to them," she said.
On the heavy police deployment in the area, Shabana said, "We are safe till the police is here. But once the deployment is decreased, the real test will begin."
Zainab, a resident of Moonga Nagar in the Chand Bagh locality, said her shop and house were gutted on Monday afternoon. On who were they and could she identify them, she said, "They were not locals. They were outsiders. We have been living here for decades, and celebrate festivals together. They would have never want to harm us. It was outsiders who did this to our house."
On communal harmony, Zainab said: "We want to live together. We have no problem with our neighbours. But the police must identify the culprits who did this to us."
Some metres towards the Chand Bagh area, a community house adjacent to the AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain's home was gutted along with shops and houses. Dozens of burnt vehicles could be seen strewn on streets.
The 3-km stretch from the Bhajanpura to Karawal Nagar was littered with bricks, stones, shattered glasses, torched vehicles, and razed houses on the sides. All that conveyed the tale of sufferings the residents had to undergo due to riots.
It all started with clashes on Sunday between pro- and anti-new citizenship law activists, which took a violent turn only to become free-for- all riots to scorch the city, instilling fears among residents that may take some time to wane.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
( 573 Words)