A foot, a missing boy and bodies — the remains of the day

de29 jaajma

de29 jaajma   | Photo Credit: de29 jaajma

The Capital may be limping back to “normalcy” after three days of violence that wreaked havoc across north-east Delhi, but time has come to a standstill for the families of those killed in the communal clashes.

Even though the violence has ebbed, the scene at Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital mortuary — where a majority of the bodies of those taken in by the unbridled violence and arson is kept — is sombre. Meanwhile, several family members remain stranded in the midst of an endless wait to claim the mortal remains of their loved ones.

A foot, all that is left

For Shiv Vihar resident Saleem Qassar, all that remains of his elder brother is a foot. He said he did not have the courage to ask whether it was the left foot or the right one. He said his 58-year-old brother Anwar was gunned down and thrown into a raging fire on Tuesday morning.

A few shops opened after three days in Jaffrabad on Saturday.

A few shops opened after three days in Jaffrabad on Saturday.  


“My brother was shot twice and burnt alive in front of my eyes. He was pushed into a fire after being shot and when he tried to get up, he was shot again. Of his body, only one foot remains which was picked up from the spot and ended up at this hospital. We identified it through the peculiar shape of his nails and his characteristically cracked heels,” he said. He added that the family intends to bury his brother’s foot according to religious conventions after it is handed over to them.

Also read: Delhi violence | In darkness, a ray of humanity

Hindu guise

“I had no option but escaping to one of my Hindu neighbour’s houses who took me, my wife and children and my brother’s only child – his daughter – in. They put tilak on our foreheads and gave us saffron safas to wear on our heads to pass us off as Hindus... had they not sheltered us to 12 hours, none of us would have been alive,” he added.

Also read: Delhi violence | Looted, burnt out homes offer little welcome to Shiv Vihar’s riot victims

Others like Mohammad Qadir from Bijnore remained suspended between hope and grief as they saw one unidentified body after the other across hospitals, seeking to track the missing family members. In Mr. Qadir’s case, his 18-year-old brother Mohammad Aftab remains untraceable since Sunday.

According to GTB Hospital authorities, 41 patients have been admitted so far and no new deaths or cases have been reported on Saturday.

de29 qadir

de29 qadir   | Photo Credit: de29 qadir


While a few patients had been examined since morning, none required admission and ICU patients were stable but still not out of danger, they said. All but six bodies, however, have undergone post-mortem examination and handed over to their respective family members.

Three days in relief camp

Mr. Qadir has been sleeping at a relief camp set up by the authorities for three consecutive nights. He sets out daily to find his brother, Aftab. “We have checked everywhere but there is still no trace of him,” Mr. Qadir said, adding that he is scared of going to Shiv Vihar – where his brother was last spotted.

As reported by The Hindu on February 27, Aftab has been missing since Tuesday after having come to Delhi for a welding job.

‘Checked all places’

“I have checked all the hospitals, camps, and approached the police multiple times but they ask me to visit the police station near Shiv Park. Aftab was intercepted and beaten up by a mob with sticks while shopping at a local supplies store in Shiv Park, according to his friends. I am afraid to go there...I will not set foot in that area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ram Kumar Paswan, a rickshaw puller, was among those awaiting possession of their family members’ remains. Mr. Paswan’s 15-year-old son Nitin had stepped out of his Gokalpuri residence to buy noodles on February 25 and never returned.

“I don’t know what he was hit with in the head — whether it was a bullet or a stone — but he didn’t return home. Someone told me to check here at the hospital after we couldn’t find him on our own for over two days. I came here on Thursday and identified the body. He was brought here alive but died during treatment. He was about to be promoted to Class IX,” Mr. Paswan said.

A foot, a missing boy and bodies — the remains of the day

Jaajma, the mother of 22-year-old Mohammad Monis, a daily wage labourer from Usmanpur, burst into tears after identifying his charred body at the mortuary.

Monis’ cousin had first gone to identify the body, failing which Ms. Jaajma went in.

“He was going to Samaipur Badli to work on his uncle’s construction project... he said we didn’t have any reason to fear because he would make sure he didn’t provoke the rioters but they killed him,” Ms. Jaajma cried.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 6:51:52 PM |

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