Rajsamand murder: Afrazul Khan’s family faces an uncertain future

He was the sole breadwinner, and is survived by wife, an ailing mother and daughters

December 12, 2017 11:42 pm | Updated 11:42 pm IST -

Gulbahar Bibi, the widow of Afrazul Khan, with their daughters at Kaliachawk in West Bengal.

Gulbahar Bibi, the widow of Afrazul Khan, with their daughters at Kaliachawk in West Bengal.

Sitting on an old sack on the rooftop of her one-storey brick house, Gulbahar Bibi, the widow of Afrazul Khan seemed to be rather baffled by the large number of people visiting her house at Syedpur village in Malda district’s Kaliachawk area. Having recently undergone surgery, she could barely stand up.

Speaking to The Hindu she narrated the ordeal of having to hear the news of her husband’s brutal murder in Rajasthan. A day before the video of Khan’s murder surfaced (December 6) neighbours told her that Mr. Khan had died in an accident in Rajasthan. Even before she could overcome the initial shock of her husband’s death, on December 7 she saw the video of her husband’s murder.

In another video the accused Shambhulal Raigar purportedly claimed that he will punish all those who are engaged in ‘love jihad’ a term made popular by right wing Hindu groups.

“He [Mr. Khan] was the breadwinner of our family. God knows how I will be able to deal with the situation now. I am unable to do any work due to my physical condition,” said Ms. Bibi.

Two decades

According to family members Mr. Khan, who worked as a mason in Rajasthan for the past two decades, had a daily income of about ₹400 to ₹500 and often struggled to support his family.

Apart from the three-room house which his family shares with his two brothers, they do not have any other property or land.

Mr. Khan is survived by his wife, mother and three daughters (two of whom are married). His family is also struggling to deal with the medical expenditure of his 80-year-old mother who has been bedridden with paralysis for the last one year.

However, Ms. Bibi said she received ₹3 lakh from the West Bengal government as announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mr. Khan last came home in September and was in his usual cheerful mood. He did not show any signs of being under pressure. “He never said that anyone was threatening him in Rajasthan and neither did he ever mention Raigar [who allegedly killed him],” said Ms. Bibi, in tears.

‘Capital punishment’

As she tried to console her mother, Mr. Khan’s daughter Rejina Khan said that even more than “jobs and financial help” they want capital punishment for Raigar. “We want him to be hanged,” Ms. Rejina said.

The incident has created discontent against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) among the locals. Pointing out that State BJP leaders are yet to meet Mr. Khan’s family members, locals said, “We don’t think they are bothered about the incident at all. The top BJP leaders are still silent on the murder.”

They also said that they have been going to other States for work for more than two decades but have never seen such an incident.

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