‘He is not smiling now as he used to,’ Delhi pogrom survivors on their children

“He is not smiling now as he used to. He wasn’t like this. But after seeing all that, my son was really shocked,” Zakeel’s mother Zahara told Maktoob. Photo: Ayisha Nourin/Maktoob

Ayisha Nourin

“Mamma, let’s take my bag ?” A six-year-old boy asked his mom while they were running away from their home.

Zakeel’s small face was brimming with emotion. He was not playing with ‘the fellow campers’ in the same tent.

“He is not smiling now as he used to. He wasn’t like this. But after seeing all the horrors of violence, my son was really shocked,” Zakeel’s mother said.

Zakeel is a first-grade student at Manoj Public School in Shiv Vihar.

“His exam is going to start after 2 days. On that day, he was asking to take his bag also with us so that he could study for the upcoming exam. But, we couldn’t as we were running for our lives. People from outside were shouting Jai Shreeram. I didn’t know how I can escape from there with my children. I held them close and tight. It is a miracle that we are still alive and my children are safe here with me,” Zakeel’s mother Sahara speaks to Maktoob with teary eyes.

“Everything was too horrible on that day. I don’t know how to say it. They were throwing petrol bombs to open windows of Muslim houses which blasted off the gas cylinders, torching the whole house. I don’t know how we escaped from that and reach here safely. I am saying my gratitude to The Almighty,” she added.

Women praying at Eid Gah Relief Camp Mustafabad. Photo: Ayisha Nourin/Maktoob

Sahara is a mother of two children, who along with her witnessed the entire attacks on their home. She is trying to get them out of the shock and trauma that it caused.

“My elder boy Ihram, 12 hasn’t anything for three days. He was having difficulty eating although he was hungry and he liked the food that was served. Then I took him into Hospital, She said after finishing her prayer on the tents of the Eid Gah.

“Zakeel kept asking me when we are returning back home. I lied to him that we would return back and that we were just staying here for some days. What else can I do? They are too young to bear the truth”. Sahara conveyed her helplessness in a small voice by hiding from the little one.

“We are now very insecure that our homes have been torched down by the bloodthirsty sanghis. They are threatening us as we tried to go back to our homes,” She added.

“Some people suddenly entered my home and cut the wires of the gas cylinders and removed the tops. Within minutes they were throwing some petroleum bombs into our home. That was a big blast and the entire flat is lit because of that. I couldn’t understand how we escaped from there,” tears trickled down Sahara’s neighbor’s face as she said this. It was Looted before being set on fire.

After the violence started in the Northeastern districts of the National Capital by the hindutva mob, the Eid Gah Relief Camp of Musthafabad is right now acting as a home for the people from Shiv Vihar. Photo: Ayisha Nourin/Maktoob

“We saw them with our eyes. They were chanting ‘Jai Shreeram’ and ‘Bharat Matha key Jai’ while killing our people. Please go and check. Did any of the Hindus home was burned and is there any Muslim home remaining? Our three masjids were set off, leaving rubbles and ashes in its place. ( Did we burn down any mandir because we don’t want to),” An old lady from shiv vihar with rage.

“Most of them were locals. The people who lived very close to us. It was really heartbreaking,” another lady added.

After the violence started in the Northeastern districts of the National Capital by the hindutva mobs, the Eid Gah Relief Camp of Musthafabad is right now acting as a home for the people from Shiv Vihar.

Photo: Ayisha Nourin/Maktoob

Yasmeen and Sajida are sleeping with their newly born child after all that running. 6 months old Ayisha was lying on her little brother’s hand with a smiling face. Little girls are searching for their right fit from a dump of the dress.

When the Eid gah become silent on the lines of Adan, children were trying to control a kite that accidentally came into that camp.

Outside the gate, people were following a Janaza. Most of the men have bandages on their bodies. After all, these people are not number but flesh and blood forced out of their homes living in uncertain circumstances with an uncertain future.

Ayisha Nourin studies MA Media Governance at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

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