Fahmida was curious about the list released by > BJP leader Hukum Singh of the 63 Hindu families that were supposedly forced out of Kandhla.
Herself a riot victim who fled from Lisadh village during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, she said she could relate to the trauma of being forced to leave one’s home.
This reporter ran into her on Wednesday while > verifying the addresses of some of the families who, the Shamli MP claimed, were forced to leave Kandhla by Muslims in the area.
Sukh Pal Singh lives at the head of the same lane that ends at the rusted black iron gates of Fahmida’s house. The name of Sukh Pal, a 49-year-old farmer, figures at no. 44 on Hukum Singh’s list of 63. It was late afternoon and Sukhpal was not at home. His wife Darshan Devi was surprised to see her husband’s name in the list. Neither she nor her husband had left home, she told this reporter. Fahmida, watching all this from a distance of two metres, could not resist speaking.
She said she failed to understand how Muslim neighbours could terrify Sukhpal in a settlement constituted of both Muslims and Hindus. And then she revealed something.
When 42-year-old Fahmida had to flee her home in Lisadh village during the 2013 riots, it was Sukhpal’s brother Yashpal who gave her family shelter by taking them as tenants. “I still remember how he was the first one to offer us shelter when we did not know anybody here,” recalled Fahmida.
Yashpal Singh had allegedly left under duress from Kandhla.
Fahmida said her husband, Mohammad Yameen, did not even try to approach a landlord in a Muslim area. “Frankly speaking, a Muslim landlord would have asked a thousand questions about our background. But these people did not ask even a single question.”
Fahmida was soon joined by her daughter Naziya (18). “The month of Ramzan is going on. I must tell you that our landlord wakes up at three in the morning to give us chilled water bottles at the time of sehri [the pre-dawn meal eaten before fasting] only to make sure we don’t feel alone.”
Naziya went on, “We have formed a warm relationship. It feels comforting to have met such people after seeing so much bloodshed happening right in front of our eyes.”
Standing in front of her rented house, which was painted with Hindu symbols, she said she shared a warm relationship with the daughters of the landlord, “After we saw 13 people being killed in our village, we lost all hope in life. But in this family we found a trusted friend. The fact that we have such people helping others in traumatic times gives us hope.”