Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Second Life | Faizan limps back to life, but government turns its back

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After nine months, Faizan sits, resting his back on the wall, and watches his grandmother who has been recently undergone a surgery. At her call, he would slowly slip down his left leg from the bed and finds composure. He limps to get to the next bed, where he once, lied down in a pool of blood, battling for life.

“I went out to get supplies for breakfast,” says Faizan, who was hit during a stampede in Kadampuri, northeast Delhi, on 25 February, third day of the northeast Delhi pogrom. Faizan was first taken to a nursing home nearby and returned home due to the violence on the streets.

The anti-Muslim Pogrom in northeast Delhi, Killed atleast 54 people and injured more than 400 people. Faizan was one among the four minors admitted in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. Maktoob reported about them in early March.

Faizan now plans to go back to school, relying support promised by the aid workers he met at hospital. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

“When I came home he was on the bed, bleeding,” recalls Meshar, Faizan’s aunt. The 14-year-old lost his mother at a young age. His father, remarried, left for Rampur leaving behind the children with grandmother. Meshar was in her last days of pregnancy when the violence broke out in the capital city.

“Some journalists came to us with help, they were like angels.”

The intervention of journalists helped them find a Police Control Room van to take Faizan to Hospital. Ritika Jain, a Photojournalist, wrote about Faizan on Twitter, who had to wait six hours to find a ride to Hospital.

Returning to life

Some initial reports said Faizan was killed in the violence. Another Faizan who lost his life after police assault in the infamous national anthem video also hails from Kadampuri, making confusion among reporters.

Young Faizan soon underwent surgery and survived critical condition. Meshar and His grandmother stayed with him, as his elder brother fleed in fear of getting arrested.

Faizan in GTB hospital in early March. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

“Doctors were not confident about walking again,” Faizan recalls. The bullet had touched the spinal cord which resulted in paralysing his right leg. But defying the calculations of doctors, Faizan has made good improvement within months. Dropping school at 6th grade to support his family, Faizan knows, he has no choice to lie on the bed and wait.

“I can walk slowly,” says Faizan, limping in the room he shares with bedridden grandmother. Shoes and walkers were provided by aid workers who help Faizan to look forward.

“There are some online tuition but they need Rs 500 per month,” says Faizan who now dreams about going back to school. Faizan’s elder brother runs the family with his menial job at old Delhi. Faizan is also looking for work he can do from his bed.

Under-compensated, Faizan seeks help

Faizan was given RS 20,000, the amount announced for minor injuries by the government. It couldn’t even meet the medical expenses his family had to spent after being discharged from the hospital.

“Many people said they would help, then the lockdown happened,” Faizan lamented. Government officials keep procrastinating Faizan’s claim for compensation citing error in papers.

The procedure has been overwhelming for the family with many patients at the same time. Meshar, on 7 April delivered a girl, putting more pressure to the elderly and illiterate grandmother to visit the officials for compensation.

“The Local MLA doesn’t consider our case,” alleges Faizan, who worries that officials are avoiding them because they are poor. His ailing grandmother was soon bedridden and sick.

The government had promised to extend compensation Rs 5 lakh for permanent incapacitation; Rs 2 lakh for serious injuries; Rs 20,000 for minor injuries.

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Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla is the Associate Creative Editor of Maktoob. Shaheen studies convergent journalism in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

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