Not going anywhere; we are safe amidst Muslim neighbours, says lone Brahmin family in Mustafabad

By Ankur Sharma

New Delhi [India], Feb 28 (ANI): When communal riots were raging on the streets in entire north-east Delhi, Ram Sevak Sharma, did not feel the need to move to a "safe" location from his house in New Mustafabad, a largely Muslim dominated locality.

Sharma claims that it did not even once crossed his mind that any harm could come to him or his family in the communally charged atmosphere when people, known and unknown to each other, came at each others' throats like rabid dogs.

But Sharma's conviction that 35 years of living together, of sharing each others' pain and joy, the mutual trust and respect cannot vanish into the air full of poison was unwavering. And it still is.

For three or four days, rampaging mobs were hunting for prey on the roads outside but the Sharmas felt totally safe among their Muslim neighbours who came to the family and assured them that no harm would come to the lone Hindu family in Gali number 15 of Nehru Vihar in New Mustafabad.

"We don't think in terms of Hindu and Muslim. We have been living here for at least 35 years, but not even once an unpleasant thing has happened to us. We never felt like we are different or the 'others' in this densely Muslim-populated area. There are only two or three other Hindu families in this entire area," Sharma told ANI.

Sharing his experience when riots took place, he said, "Our Muslim neighbours came to our house and assured us to not worry. They told me to sleep peacefully as they would stand guard outside our house. And they did," he added.

After such bitter clashes, is he thinking of moving to a "safer" location?

"Not at all. We are not going anywhere," Sharma said, seconded by his son Mukesh who added that he has all the friends in the locality.

"All my Muslim friends who have grown up with me are helping us and assuring us that that they are with us. If I had felt any fear ever, I would have left this place and would not be talking to you," Mukesh told ANI. "I don't think anything has changed between us. We all are talking to each other like we have always done. There is no distrust," Ram Sevak said.

Just a few meters away, burnt and ransacked shops are telling a gruesome tale that Delhi has seldom witnessed playing out on its streets.

At least 38 persons have been killed and over 200 injured in the communal violence that raged on for four days in north-east Delhi. Property worth crores of rupees has been destroyed. (ANI)