Hard to break the wallof distrust: Iqlakh’s son

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Sartaj Saifi shudders at the thought of what happened on the night of September 28. “They attacked my father and brother with bricks and batons. I don’t think we can stay in the village for long. The wall of distrust built that night can’t be broken,” says Sartaj, the elder son of Mohammad Iqlakh, 50, who died on September 28 after a raging mob attacked his house suspecting over suspicion that he killed a calf and ate beef.
For Sartaj, an IAF corporal, moving his family away from Bishada is tough. But he says he has no choice. “You tell me. Will the boys arrested for the crime let my mother and sister live in the village? How will my family sustain in such a hostile atmosphere? Once our friends, the dominant local Thakurs are bound to view us with suspicion forever. We have requested the UP government for a permanent house anywhere in Greater Noida so that my family can move once tensions in the village end,” says Sartaj, posted in Chennai.
He thanks the IAF for the offer of relocation to a nearby base but indicates a preference for permanent accommodation for his devastated sister and mother, both eyewitnesses to the brutal assault on Iqlakh.
Back in Bishada, Iqlakh’s widow Ikram has been having sleepless nights. “Those 60 minutes of horror don't let me sleep. My husband and son had just finished their evening namaaz when we heard a mob pounding wildly at our main door. In seconds, hordes of boys took over our house. They came with sharp-edged tools and batons and started beating my husband and son who were on the first floor. They broke lights so that they could escape identification. But I saw three of them and can recognise them,” says Ikram. The Saifi family also contradicts Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma who recently said the mob did not even touch Iqlakh’s daughter (17). “They molested not just my daughter and me but even Iqlakh’s mother. I can’t say more,” the widow (45) says, adding that desperate cries for help fell on deaf ears and none of their Thakur neighbours came forward to help.
“Our ancestors have lived in this village for 150 years. Such an incident has never happened. We have shared good and bad times with our neighbours but that night changed everything,” says Ikram.
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