Six days after Junaid Khan lost his life, his mother Saira finally took a trip to Delhi on Wednesday — but it wasn’t to Jantar Mantar, where hundreds of people gathered to demand justice for her 15-year-old son who was stabbed to death on board a Mathura-bound train. Along with three of her sons, Saira visited Shaqir, her 23-year-old son, who is currently recuperating at Apollo Hospital.
Even as social media went into a tizzy over the #NotInMyName march at Jantar Mantar, the Khan family stayed at home in Khandawli. “How can we go? There are so many people visiting us every day, we have to attend to them,” said Junaid’s father Jalaluddin. Saira, he said, was too unwell to undertake such a long journey again on the same day.
According to a neighbour, Aslam, “the village is planning to hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar on July 2 to demand justice for Junaid”. As TV channels broadcast the march, the Khan family remained oblivious to the slogans raised and to the discussions that were undertaken at similar protests across cities in India.
“We don’t have a TV at home, so we haven’t watched anything,” said Hashim, 19, who couldn’t go to the march due to recurring pain caused by the stab wounds. “Yeh hafiz log hain, yeh TV nahi dekhte hain,” said a neighbour.
It was two days ago that the family, and the village, first found out about the protest in Delhi. “Three-four madams visited us, told us about it and asked us to come for it,” said Hashim. While the Khan family skipped it, a few of Junaid’s friends and cousins seemed eager to join. “We will go, but not in the train… It’s important, it’s for Junaid,” said 15-year-old Yasin.