"AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain Not Involved in Delhi Riots": Says Tahir's Hindu Neighbour Gyanendra Kochar In An Exclusive Interview
Syed Khalique Ahmed & Masihuzzama Ansari
NEW DELHI, JUNE 17—While the Delhi Police Crime Branch has charged AAP councillor Tahir Hussain as one of the main accused in Northeast Delhi riots that claimed 53 lives, mostly Muslims, his Hindu neighbour Gyanendra Kochar says that Tahir Hussain is not at all involved in the riots.
The 45-year-old Tahir Hussain is currently in high-security Tihar Jail.
In an exclusive video interview to India Tomorrow, Kochar said, “As far as I know, Tahir Hussain is not involved in the riots. He was involved in peace efforts”.
This is the first interview to any media Kochar has given after the arrest of Tahir Hussain in March this year.
Kochar’s bakery is in Khajuri Khas, a mixed locality, opposite Chand Bagh which is inhabited totally by Muslims. Only a road divides the two localities.
Kochar said that Tahir had made a strong bid to ensure peace and non-violence. “On February 24, the day the riots began, I saw Tahir Hussain with Hindu and Muslim religious leaders and an assistant commissioner of police appealing people for peace”, claimed Kochar.
Kochar said that Tahir Hussain also held meetings with religious leaders belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities in presence of police officials for communal peace and harmony”.
“I did not see Tahir Hussain provoking anybody for riots or leading any mob. I don’t think that Tahir Hussain has any role in the riots”, Kochar said, giving clean chit to AAP councillor.
When questioned that police have named Tahir Hussain as one of the main conspirators behind the riots, Kochar categorically said, “Tahir Hussain did everything at his command to ensure peace and harmony. How did his name crop up among the rioters, I can’t comment”.
Kochar himself is a riot victim and suffered financial loss of about Rs. 18 lakh as his Bunny Bakery was looted and burnt miscreants during riots. He has not received any compensation so far. However, he has got his bakery repaired and started his business again.
Asked if he knew who were the people who looted and set ablaze his bakery, Kochar said, “The mob first looted my baker, then set it afire. But I don’t know who were they and from where had they come? But I lost everything that were there in the bakery. Even a spoon was not there in the bakery after it was burnt”.