NEW DELHI: Bonded in tragedy, Firdaus and Sarita Devi are faces of families hit by mindless violence exactly a year ago. A mother of two children, Firdaus saw her world turn upside down a year ago when Furqan, her husband, was killed in the Delhi riots.
It was not just economic hardships and uncertainties. A miscarriage was one of the many personal setbacks she had to deal with. And she is not alone. Firdaus is among several women, who after losing the sole breadwinners, have been pushed to the brink.
Living in a two-room house, owned by her in-laws, Firdaus is still caught off-guard when her six-year-old daughter Wania and three-year-old son Moosa ask for their father. With the rent from tenants the only source of income, she concedes that she fears of losing the house and, in the process, the sole support line. “My brother-in-law is supportive but my father-in-law wants me to vacate the house and return to my parents. I manage the house with `10,000 that I get as rent,” Firdaus says, breaking down.
In addition to battling low blood pressure and severe anaemia and running endless errands for her children, she has to live with the taunts of her relatives, Firdaus adds. Prayers are her only refuge now. “I am managing the house alone. I cannot carry my children along everywhere. So, I leave them with the neighbours but relatives question me and my ability as a mother. What have I done to deserve this? I feel like erasing all his (Furqan) pictures from my phone but I cannot do that.”
Sarita too has a lot to worry about with hardly any support from her family or the family of her husband Deepak Kumar who was bludgeoned to death during the riots. Left with no money or assistance, Sarita was forced to leave Delhi and move to her village in Bihar with her three children.
“I feel terrible for my brother and his family. Sarita is working as a farmer there to support herself and her children in our village. She cannot even afford a phone. We are labourers who hardly earn enough. I want to help her but I cannot,” Deepak’s brother said.
Elsewhere, the family members of businessman Ishteyaque Khan, who was shot in his stomach, is doing all that they can to help his wife and their children. Zeba says her son Zaid’s mannerism reminds her of Ishteyaque. “He used to take them out for a stroll in the evenings. Even a year later, the children insist on being taken out at the same time.”