‘Under Pressure’: Man Whose Mother Was Burnt Alive in Delhi Riots

·4-min read

“I have lost everything already. I have already lost my garment factory. I have lost my mother. What is left to lose? I am not scared anymore. I want the police to give me the receipt for my complaint right now. The accused are harassing and threatening me,” Mohammad Saeed Salmani, who lost his 85-year-old mother and home in the northeast Delhi communal violence of February 2020, said.

Explaining what happened, Salmani, who is a resident of Gamri in northeast Delhi, said, “Around 2:00 pm (on 17 May) the accused and an unknown person came outside my home to meet me. One of them is a named accused. They called me down and abused me to my face and kept threatening me to remove their name from the case. They told me that they will kill my family to my face.”

A hassled Salmani called a policeman, who came to the spot about half an hour later and took the accused with him. The Quint has independently confirmed that such a call was made and a police official went to the spot to remove the accused. “I do not know more about the case. The man was handed over to the station,” Siddhant, a police official from Bhajanpura police station, said.

Also Read: NE Delhi Violence: Gaps in Police’s Third Conspiracy Charge Sheet

Then Salmani went to the police station with his wife to register his complaint. This is when he alleges that there were over 20 people outside the police station who were constantly threatening and pressurising Salmani to withdraw his complaint.

Delhi Police Official Says, No Such Mob

The policeman who was present to take Salmani’s complaint spoke to this reporter and contrary to the Delhi violence victim’s complaint, claimed there was no such mob and no threatening.

"“No one is standing outside. No one is standing anywhere. Listen to me, five minutes after I saw him outside the station he said a mob of twenty was troubling him. I never say this mob of twenty. If 20 people will threaten that how could he return to the station some minutes later? His claims did not add up and I saw no one.” " - Bhajanpura police official to The Quint.

When said Salmani was worried about being attacked, the police officer said, “It has been more than one year since the riots. If they really wanted to attack him why would they not have done it already? Also if they wanted to attack him why would they wait for him since the morning.”

The police officer said that when he got Salmani’s call of being close to the station, he got onto his bike and went around all four sides to find him but never found him. “Then again he returned to the police station,” the police officer said.

Salmani repeatedly said he would only leave after getting a receipt on his complaint. The police kept telling him he would get it the next day. There is a procedure to register a complaint, the officer said, “I kept telling him that he will get the receipt tomorrow and that he could leave his complaint with me and go, but he kept insisting to meet the SHO.”

The policeman said the protocol is the complaint comes, is fed into the machine, then the reader marks it, the SHO signs it, the IO is assigned and then it is fed into the computer. This takes time and can not be given at the spot.”

He went on to say that the complaint was not urgent in nature, “If someone was shot at the spot and we tell them to come tomorrow, that would be our fault but when it comes to a complaint this is a procedure.”

Also Read: NE Delhi Violence: Gaps in Police’s Third Conspiracy Charge Sheet

Background of The Case, What Happened on 25 Feb 2020

Explaining the allegation against the specific accused, Salmani said, “I saw him steal my laptop and other things as I ran out of my home. I have named him. Other witnesses have said they saw him too. His name is in the complaint and charge sheet as well. He was a rioter.”

Salmani claims these people have threatened him before as well.

Recalling what happened in February last year, Salmani said he had stepped out to buy milk on 25 February morning and before he could return, a mob entered his house and set it on fire, killing his 85-year-old lmother Akbari in North East Delhi.

The rioters first set his ground floor, where he had his garment shop, on fire. Then went up one floor after another. The locals did not let him go inside, he said, as they were worried he would die. While his kids jumped roofs and save their own lives, his 85-year-old mother Akbari suffocated to death.

Her body was retrieved only ten hours after the house was burnt.

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