NEW DELHI: A Hindu family in Gokalpuri has been rendered homeless as they became victim of a mob fury targeted at some Muslim shops in their residential building.
The family of six, who are now forced to spend their days roaming in the streets and nights at a neighbour's house, had a harrowing experience on Tuesday as the three shops, owned by Muslims who don't reside in the building, on the ground floor of the two-storey structure were set on fire.
One of the family members, 20-year-old Karan, a daily wager, said the mob gathered in the streets and roads of Bhagirathi Vihar in Gokalpuri on Monday and Tuesday.
They started heavy stone-pelting on Tuesday evening, he said.
"I was on the first floor of our rented accommodation along with my 13-year-old sister.
I got curious by the commotion outside and rushed to see what was happening.
The locals tried to stop the mob but they torched three shops of Muslim tenants," he said.
The shops belonged to a junk dealer, a TV mechanic and a man who sharpens scissors.
The flames spread from the shops to the first floor, where Karan used to lived with his family, and he rushed upstairs to rescue his sister.
"My parents, who were not at the home, also came back and we collected necessary items and rushed out to save our lives.
The flames spread from the ground floor to our rented room on the first floor," he said.
His elder brother Ashish, a street vendor, said the whole family took shelter in the neighbourhood and was now finding it difficult to make ends meet.
"We are poor people.
None of us has been able to go to earn anything.
We are waiting for normalcy to return.
This house is not livable now.
We will have to go somewhere else," Ashish said.
He said his family was unable to enter their rooms as it was very hot inside due to the fire.
"We are spending most of the time in day on the streets, and, in the night, sleeping at a neighbour's house," he said.
Kishan, a neighbour of the family, said several calls were made to the police for help as the rioters created chaos in the area Tuesday evening, but no assistance arrived.
Violence in several parts of northeast Delhi in the past few days has claimed 38 lives and resulted in injuries to over 200 people.
A large number of vehicles, shops, houses and other properties were gutted and damaged because of the widespread arson and heavy stone-pelting.