Shabeena Amir in northeast Delhi’s Old Mustafabad was 4 months pregnant with her third child, as her husband Amir Ali’s corpse was raised from the drainage. They were eagerly waiting for their newborn along with their two children, Alfisha who is 5, and 3-year-old Alisha.
The news of Amir’s third baby girl, never blessed his ears, for he was lynched and thrown off into the drainage by the Hindu youths during the 2020 February northeast Delhi pogrom. Now three months old Alima was born, months after her father’s departure.
“My son Amir used to really love his daughters so much. He couldn’t even see his third child, went away too early. God will punish the killers,” for the 55-year-old Asghari, tears brim amidst her playing with her grandchild Alima.
For her, the loss was double, for along with his son Amir, she lost another son Hashim to the Delhi program by the Hindu youths associated with right-wing groups.
Amir Ali, 31, and Hashim Ali, 16, were killed and their bodies were thrown into the Bhagirathi Vihar drainage by anti-Muslim rioters during the violence. The brothers were beaten to death when they were returning to their house in the area on February 26 in the night.
On 23 February, Amir and Hashim went to meet their grandmother in Bhopura, Ghaziabad – about eight km from where they lived in northeast Delhi’s Old Mustafabad because she hadn’t been keeping well. As the situation turned tense after Hindu mobs unleashed anti-Muslim violence, the brothers stayed on there. On 26 February their father Babu Khan asked them to return as the situation had apparently become normal.
“Just five minutes from home, they made frantic calls to their father between 9 and 9.30 pm on February 26, saying they were afraid because the Hindu mob had gathered outside, targeting Muslims,” Asghari, mother of Hashim and Amir told Maktoob.
After Babu Khan’s call, though, the family did not hear back from the brothers. When they tried to call them, their phone was switched off. They went to the Dayalpuri police station on 27 February.
“The policemen started showing us photographs of bodies that had been found in the drain that morning. We identified our Amir and Hashim,” Babu Khan said to Maktoob.
The bodies were pulled out from a ditch, one brother has been stabbed, the other had head injures from a blunt object.
“People who hate us killed our children. The people who have been intoxicated, hate is instilled in them against Muslims, they have killed our children. They were not from outside they are all from here,” the father of the slain said.
“They were killed, their bones were broken, and the sword was pierced into their heads. There were a lot of cuts on their body. Even a beast would have mercy. Rest everyone is born to die. When the courts will open we would know if we would get justice. We will knock on all the doors for justice we won’t get back until we get the justice. Our children’s every drop of blood has to be paid off. We have to fight the fight for justice. We have to get justice for our children and there is no other aim of our life,” the grief-stricken mother said.
Hashim worked in a jeans factory and Amir was a taxi driver by profession.
The charge sheet in Hashim’s murder case named nine people; 11 people were booked for his brother Amir’s murder. All 20 people have been charged with IPC 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
All are presently in judicial custody and their bail applications have been rejected.
The police investigation has found that “during peak rioting, a WhatsApp group Kattar Hindut Ekta was created on the intervening night of February 25 and 26, which has 125 members.”
According to the chargesheet, the WhatsApp group members bragged about “killing Muslims” and “dumping their bodies in the sewer,” and offering manpower and guns when necessary.
Pointing at a heap of charge sheets FIR documents, Iqra, sister of Hashim and Amir said, this is what is left of her brothers.
It’s been about a year since two of the breadwinners of the house had been lynched. Their absence has left, their father and his tailoring the family’s only means of livelihood.