During the three days of violence in North East Delhi starting on February 24, at least 14 mosques and a Sufi dargah were burnt by Hindutva vigilantes.
Some mosques look like they were fire bombed through windows that were prised open after their glass panes were broken. Others were clearly set alight by people who rampaged through them tearing up books, breaking furniture, wrenching off taps, battering anything they could not break, before setting everything on fire. In situations where the imam or muezzin were unable to flee in time, they were set upon by the mob with rods and batons.
Many of the attacks occurred in broad daylight. People who live or work close by, Muslim and Hindu, testified that the mosques were attacked by mobs of varying sizes shouting “Jai Shri Ram”. There are some videos in circulation that show the mobs, in many cases numbering not more than 20, in action.
All 14 mosques and the dargah are located in an area of less than 10 sq km. All of them are in mixed neighbourhoods. The oldest of them was built in the mid 1970s. A few are deep inside neighbourhoods not easy to find, except by local residents. Wherever a mosque has been burnt, Muslim homes and businesses have also been decimated.
Not one of the many Hindu temples, big and small, in the entire area was reported to have been attacked.
As the clean-up begins and justice seems a very long way off, these photographs – taken by this author across five days between February 27 and March 7 – are evidence of the destruction of the systematic destruction of mosques, which is a sign of religious intolerance.