A 22-year-old Mushtaq Khan has been suffering to spent the last four days running in and out of the hospitals and police stations to get the body of his 27-year-old brother, Ishtiyaq who was shot dead just 200 metres away from his house in the riot-hit area of Kabir Nagar in northeast Delhi.
The worry which is constantly buzzing in the head of Mushtaq is how he will take the body of his brother to the riot-hit area, where he was shot dead.
“I have been coming here every day at 10 am, while my family waits for Ishtiyaq’s body at home. Some family members do not want us to get the body home, fearing that the others in the house will also be targeted,” said Mushtaq.
Ishtiyaq’s brother-in-law said that the family has lived in Kabir Nagar for five generations, but the recent violent riot has scared them. They just want to get the body and “get done with the last rites at the earliest ”.
Many families, who were spotted outside the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital mortuary, fear the extreme after bodies would be handed over to them.
The violence in their neighbourhoods may have subsided, but the atmosphere there continues to remain tense. Along with mosques and religious shrines, the rioters have also desecrated a graveyard in Gokalpuri.
Sanjay Kumar’s 34-year-old brother Deepak Kumar was killed in the riot, he also talked about the similar fear of taking the body home. He said that usually a final procession is taken out in the Hindu tradition, but he was unsure if that would be possible in his neighbourhood now. Deepak worked in a factory in Jhilmil and is survived by a wife and child.
“I don’t think Deepak will get a final procession. We are not sure if we will be able to perform the last rites the way it should be. Who knows what these rioters will do next? I just hope his soul rests in peace,” Sanjay said.
Arif Ali lost his younger brother, Mehtab, on Monday. Mehtab was undergoing treatment for a mental ailment at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS). This was the reason he could not gauge the gravity of the situation outside when he stepped out to get milk, Arif said.
On Tuesday, a mob of around 200 masked men entered a Muslim graveyard and damaged its boundary walls, offices and other structures. Suraj Pal, the caretaker of the graveyard, said that it was the “most horrific” sight he had ever seen.
“They had hatred and disgust in their eyes. They have pulled out gates and smashed concrete structures. They even set some portions of the graves on fire, but that was unsuccessful,” Pal said,
He further added that though Gokalpuri and Jyoti Nagar have been among the worst affected, no family has come into this graveyard for burial so far.