Delhi riots forced thousands of Muslims from their homes

March, 2020

Imran Khan, a 30-year-old laborer, was walking home on February 24 after a hard day's work when a mob in northeast Delhi intercepted him.

"They first asked my name to find out if I was a Hindu or a Muslim," he told CBS News. As soon as he said his name, which is common among south Asian Muslims, he says they started hitting him with sticks and iron rods. 

"I tried to reason with them but they didn't listen. They laughed while some of them ate the fruits I was carrying home for children."

Khan was beaten so badly he lost consciousness. When he came to, he found himself in a drainage ditch, half submerged in filthy water, with a rope tied around his neck.   

"Perhaps they thought I was dead and threw me in the drain," he told CBS News at a relief camp in Delhi's Mustafabad area where he has taken shelter. His skull was still bandaged, but he showed photos of the wounds that required 32 stitches on his skull. "Only God saved me."

Khan is among thousands of people living in makeshift relief camps set up for those who fled last month's sectarian riots in India's capital. The violence left at least 53 people dead and more than 200 injured.

More than 5,000 Muslims find themselves living in at least three makeshift camps. The clusters of tents are overcrowded and lacking some basic amenities for sanitation and hygiene — a dangerous situation amid a global coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 cases have been reported in the city of almost 19 million.

Source: CBS