Fifteen victims of Delhi violence, along with their family members, on Saturday took part in a peace march organised by NGO Delhi Peace Forum (DPF) to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the riots that broke out in northeast district over the amended Citizenship law.
The march from Jantar Mantar to Parliament Street police station witnessed participation of around 28,000 people from all walks of life as well office bearers of more than 500 different organisations in the national capital.
The DPF, which has high ranking retired military officers, IAS and High Court judges, is headed by Justice MC Garg.
After the conclusion of the march, the forum submitted a memorandum to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
On the occasion, retired army officers associated with the forum, called the violence in the national capital a "well-planned conspiracy". Speaking in favour of CAA and against the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, they said the law of the land does not allow anyone to stop the roads anywhere in the country.
"If the perpetrators of Delhi violence are not dealt with strictly, the consequences would be fatal," they said.
During the march, Delhi riot victims narrated tales of the horrific tragedy that claimed the lives of over 40 people and left more than 200 grieveously injured. Golu, a one-and-a-half year old, lost his father in the riots. His father, Dinesh Khatik, a resident of Delhi's Shiv Vihar area, was shot dead when he went out to buy milk for him. Many people broke down into tears when Dinesh's elder brother Suresh Khatik narrated the pain of the family.
Kamal Sharma, the owner of restaurant Captain Kataora at Bhajanpura, narrated how an angry mob set two of his restaurants on fire. He said he was shocked to learn from CCTV footage that the same customers who used to dine in his restaurant for years had burnt the restaurants into ashes.
Alok Tiwari, a 33-year-old man, succumbed to injuries after he was shot in his head by rioters in Shiv Vihar. He used to work in a cardboard factory in Karaval Nagar. He is survived by his 4-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Tiwari's brother in-law said the financial condition of the deceased's family is not good and even his last rites were performed with financial help from neighbours.
Navneet Gupta, who runs an academic institute named Horizon at Bhajanpura, was horror-stricken while recalling the evening when his institute was set on fire and 35 children including 20 girls got trapped inside. "I had no idea that these people would suddenly become so violent. They all had guns, swords, axes in their hands. They were pelting stones and even threw petrol bombs at the institute," he said.
Participants also paid tributes to Delhi Police constable Ratan Lal and Intelligence Bureau (IB) personnel Ankit Sharma who were killed in the violence.