With outstretched hands, Siddiqua Umar Sheikh begged to see her husband’s photograph. “Please let me have one last look at him,” she implored as tears flowed incessantly from her swollen eyes.
Her husband Mohammad Umar, 25, was shot dead in the violence at Azad Maidan here on Saturday. He was buried on Sunday.
“The police have turned their back on his body. Don’t the police have a heart?” said a tearful Shaheen Munavar Sheikh, Umar’s sister.
“Those who did this to my brother should be punished,” she told The Hindu .
Resident of the Garib Nagar slum in the suburb of Bandra, Umar had barely arrived at Azad Maidan with his younger brother and a couple of friends when they all got caught in the commotion.
Alam Munazir, Umar’s friend, said groups of people were heading for Azad Maidan, so “we decided to join them.”
“It was supposed to be a prayer meeting for those who lost their lives in Assam. Umar and I were together and suddenly the violence started. We ran in different directions.”
Umar, a vendor of umbrellas and handkerchiefs on the Bandra railway bridge, managed to earn a meagre Rs.5,000 a month to support his family.
‘He wanted to study’
A pall of gloom descended on Qureshi Nagar in suburban Kurla during the funeral procession of 18-year-old Aftab Khan, another firing victim.
At Aftab’s home, a matchbox of a room, his devastated mother Sakina Khan lay on a wooden cot.
“He wanted to study. Whenever I would cry, he would say, ‘Why are you crying. I will study. I will earn and give you a good home.’ He was such a sensitive child,” muttered Sakina.
Aftab, a commerce student, returned from college on Saturday afternoon when a friend asked him to come along.
“They were going for a prayer meeting for Assam victims. Aftab was supposed to come home for Iftar,” the mother said.
She fondly remembered how he would save his daily pocket-money of Rs.10. “He would bring that sum home unspent.”