Expectant mother recollects her narrow escape from death

Damaged utensils salvaged from Musarrat’s house in Shiv Vihar.

Damaged utensils salvaged from Musarrat’s house in Shiv Vihar.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Musarrat sneaked out with 4 children and the fifth in her belly

Forty-year-old Musarrat ran with all her five children in tow — three daughters and a son forming a chain, hands tightly clasped, and a fifth in her belly.

“Fear is the worst thing,” she says when asked how she managed to run while carrying a full term baby inside her.

On the fateful night of February 25, she decided to flee her house in Shiv Vihar almost on a hunch. It had barely been five minutes since they left their house, when she saw a mob behind them pelting stones in their direction.

Her neighbourhood had been tense for nearly two days. On February 23, there was a minor fire in the street and a day later someone left petrol cans and wires at her doorstep.

She says escaping mob violence wasn’t an easy decision for her. Following her husband’s death in December last year, she has been on iddat [a mandatory waiting period when widows are confined within their house and are forbidden from mingling with people]. She says on the night of February 25, when she fled to her natal home, she was in a dilemma to either abide by an important ritual or save her life and the lives of her children.

Musarrat expects to deliver her baby any day, but there are no signs of a celebration that usually accompanies the birth of a child.

“Doctors have warned that my baby is weak and may require care in a hospital,” she tells The Hindu. She has just returned home after a detailed medical examination.

“There is more tension than happiness. There is fear and trauma,” says Musarrat.

House torched

Days later, her 20-year-old daughter found that their house had been completely burnt. All that is left of their belongings is a cylinder with a tear and the charred remains of utensils and two sewing machines.

With her source of livelihood snatched from her — she sewed belts for ₹200 per day — she hopes that the Delhi government will help her elder daughter with employment so that the family can fend for itself.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:38:25 AM |

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