48-year-Shahazad Asghar Zaidi is thankful to his landlord Ramdhari Prajapati for saving his life from the rioters. Prajapati with the help of few locals had stopped communal fanatics to cause any harm to Zaidi when they had put a dagger on his neck.
Prajapati had rented out his shop to Zaidi and the latter was running an electrical shop for the past few years in Old Mustafabad area. When the communal violence broke out on February 23, Zaidi immediately closed his shop and ran to his house, which is at a distance of about one km away from there. He decided to stay indoors as long as peace prevailed.
“There was no time to carry anything from the shop as everyone was concerned about saving their life. There was chaos all around and I was concerned about my wife and daughters so I rushed to my house,” Zaidi recalled.
In the middle of the communal mayhem, he received a call from Prajapati that rioters looted his shop and burnt the remaining items that they could not carry with them.
“It happened on the night of February 25 and the next day in the morning when the situation looked under control, I went to see my shop. I was devastated to see the damage. When I was taking pictures, some people came from behind and caught me,” Zaidi recollected.
He added, “First they asked me to delete all pictures, which I had to do as one of them was carrying a dagger. Then the moment one of them put the dagger on my neck, my landlord and a few people who had arrived at the scene, stopped him.”
He made a safe exit from there and couldn’t muster to come back for another few days. After reaching home he also made a call to the police to register the incident but no one arrived.
He lost his source of livelihood due to the unfortunate incidents. When the Delhi government announced compensation for the riots victims, Zaidi estimated his loss and made a claim for Rs 6 lakhs. However, he was shocked to recieve Rs 5000.
“Even if I don’t count any item in my shop, the furniture, wooden rack and counters will cost more than a lakh as you know how costly it is to set up a shop now,” Zaidi claimed.
“With folded hands, I urge the government to take it back from me because it is not compensation but an insult. I cannot set up a new shop. Covid-19 lockdown has added further challenges for us.Today, I am surviving by offering electric repair services from home,” Zaidi rued.
He said that the Delhi police lodged an FIR just about a month ago, almost six months after the incident. “I can recognise some of them. They still roam around but police haven’t arrested any one of them,” Zaidi complained.