New Delhi: It was just four months ago that 20-year-old Shazia came to Delhi to marry her “doting husband” Shahid.
Now, two-month pregnant Shazia waits for her husband’s body, which will be taken to their native town, Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
Shahid was one of the 11 killed in the communal riots that have erupted in Northeast Delhi.
The 22-year-old auto-rickshaw driver was shot in his stomach around 3.30 pm Monday.
“He always used to come home for lunch to make sure I have eaten… He used to tell me, ‘Kha le Shazia, babu bhookha hai (Eat Shazia, the baby is hungry)…’,” she said as she struggled to speak. “Yesterday, he didn’t come, and instead news came that he has been shot.”
She continues to stare at the green bangles Shahid brought for her Sunday, a day before he was killed, and bursts into loud cries every few minutes. “What will I do now? What will I do with this child?”
Shazia has refused to eat anything ever since she got the news of her husband’s death. “I won’t eat until I see his body… These doctors are not letting me see his body… Do I not have the right to see his body?”
Shazia was brought back from Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, which has received the maximum number of injured people since Monday, to her relative’s house in Seemapur Tuesday. Shahid was brought dead to this hospital.
While coming back, her brother-in-law, Irfan, asked her to remove her burqa so that they could not be recognised as Muslim, Shazia’s sister Nasreen said.
“At our home, we don’t even look at our jeth (brother-in-law)… But today he had to do this because we cannot be seen as Muslims in Delhi,” she added.
According to Shahid’s family, he was driving his auto-rickshaw around 3.30 pm around the Bhajan Pura Dargah when he was shot in his stomach.
“It is the ordinary people who are going about their day or are simply stocking up ration, who are being killed,” said Irfan.
People in many of the affected areas in Northeast Delhi were frantically stocking up ration until Monday, fearing escalation of the situation.
100 phone calls, but no one to take body to hospital
Mubarak Hussain’s blood-smeared body was lying on the streets of Babarpur’s Vijay Park colony for at least three hours after he was shot dead in the violence.
Hussain, 28, was shot at on his chest at 1.40 pm Tuesday and he died on the spot, said eyewitnesses.
“We made at least 100 calls to the police, but no one has come yet with even an ambulance,” Mubarak’s 18-year-old brother Sadakat told ThePrint.
Until 3.30 pm Tuesday, when ThePrint visited the spot, no police officer or ambulance had arrived to take Hussain’s body to the hospital.
Originally from Bihar’s Darbhanga, Mubarak was a labourer who had been living in Delhi for the last 10 years.
“He was a very hard working boy who was earning for our family back in Bihar as well. But Delhi is what he considered home,” said Sadakat, who was visiting his elder brother.
An eyewitness, Naeem Khan, told ThePrint that a man in a black jacket came from across the street and opened fire, killing Hussain. “The police stood there and watched,” he said.
‘No clarity on autopsy’
Of the 10 civilians who died in the violence, ThePrint met with the families of four, and all of them said that doctors at the GTB hospital have been non-committal about when the autopsy will be conducted.
“All of today and yesterday (Monday and Tuesday), they kept saying the post-mortem will happen in a few hours… Now they are saying come tomorrow,” Irfan said.
While some families are waiting hopelessly in front of the hospital’s mortuary, many have left after waiting endlessly.
“Policemen tell us dismissively ‘Jab milni hogi body, mil jayegi (The body will be handed over when it is supposed to)‘,” said Mudassir Khan, brother of Nazeem Khan, who too was shot Monday.
Nazeem, a 35-year-old, has left behind six children and a wife.
Asked if Nazeem had ever participated in anti-CAA protests in the last two months, Mudassir said, “Uska kabadi ka kaam tha… Kabhi itne paise hi nahi the ki pradarshan mein hissa lene ka waqt milta (He used to pick up garbage… He didn’t have enough money to take part in any protests),” he said. “Woh toh ration lene gaya tha (He had gone to fetch ration).”
While ThePrint could not meet families of any Hindu victims at GTP Hospital, but victims — both Hindus and Muslims — who have been injured with bullet injuries or due to stone-pelting kept coming in throughout the afternoon.
Ten civilians and a policeman have been killed in the violence so far, said the Delhi Police.
While the dead policeman has been identified as head constable Ratan Lal, the civilians have been identified as Mohammad Furquan, Sahid, Rahul Solanki, Nazeem and Vinod Kumar. Five others are yet to be identified.
“At this time, you cannot tell who is being killed and who is killing… Neta log bhashan deke chale gaye, ab Hindu-Musalman dono mar raha hai (Politicians came and went after giving speeches and now Hindus and Muslims are being killed,” said Sunny Singh, a bystander who rushed a Hindu man to the hospital on his bike, who was shot at in his waist.
‘Blame on Kapil Mishra’
The families of the victims, both injured and killed, held former Delhi MLA and BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s ‘incendiary’ speech responsible for the violence.
In a video tweeted Sunday, Mishra gave a three-day ultimatum to Delhi Police to clear roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh where anti-CAA protests were going on. He had said if the police failed to do it, “we would not even listen to you if the roads are not vacated”.
Faqeel Ahmed, brother-in-law of Mohammad Furquan, another deceased, who was shot Monday said, “We never went to Shaheen Bagh or anything, but it was a peaceful protest… Ever since Kapil Mishra made that speech, things went out of hand.”
“If Modi or Kejriwal owe anything to the people of this country, they will make sure Kapil Mishra pays for the loss of lives of Indians,” he added.