‘Sense of unease’ overrides relief of justice

The victim, Manori, at her house. Photo: Special Arrangement

The victim, Manori, at her house. Photo: Special Arrangement

Dinesh Yadav was sentenced to a five-year jail term by a Delhi court on Thursday for being part of a mob that burnt down 73-year-old Manori’s house. But instead of feeling relieved, Ms. Manori and her family felt a sense of unease as they worried about Yadav’s eventual release from jail.

“We don’t know the man who has been punished. We have never seen him but it appears that he burnt down our house with others. Now we feel a little scared because maybe when he comes out, he will blame us for sending him to jail in our case,” Ms. Manori said.

The 75-year-old has been living with her daughter Shahida, 48, and two sons — Ashiq, 23, and Asif, 21, — at their residence in Bhagirathi Vihar since 1990. It took them a year to repair the house after it was looted and burnt during the riots.

Mr. Ashiq wondered what would happen if the supporters of Yadav tried to harm them. “ Hamein to darr hi lagta haihamari to koi madad bhi nahi karega (We are scared… nobody will help us also),” he said. Mr. Ashiq added that he lives in a locality dominated by Hindus and he and his family had a healthy relationship with their neighbours till the riots broke out in February 2020.

“When the riots broke out, we thought we wouldn’t be harmed because we had such a healthy relationship with all our neighbours. But when our house was being burnt and looted, nobody came forward to help us,” he said.

Mr. Ashiq had a buffalo and the family sold its milk for a living. The buffalo was nowhere to be found when the family returned after the riots. “These neighbours are the same people to whom we offered milk and curd whenever we had extra. If they didn’t help us then, why would they help us now if somebody were to harm us? They don’t even bother to check how we are managing to survive,” he said.

His mother Shahida has been in trauma since the riots. “She doesn’t get out of bed. She barely talks to anyone,” said Mr. Ashiq.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 6:17:28 pm |