In the sweltering heat, Ismail Khan, 24, ran around with a bag full of Brisly water bottles. In the house next door, a room was being cleaned by neighbours and friends, with carpets neatly put in place and two coolers shifted there. “Bhupinder Singh Hooda is coming,” said Ismail hurriedly.
Hooda was among the many politicians — big and small — to visit Khandawli on Tuesday, days after local boy Junaid Khan was stabbed to death by a mob on a Mathura-bound train.
Once Hooda settled into the packed room, a discussion on the way forward began. “The solution to every problem is to maintain peace and harmony. There is no other way,” said the former Haryana chief minister. Also present in the room were Junaid’s father Jalaluddin, brothers Ismail and Qasim, and politicians such as AAP leader Ramzan Chaudhary, JD(U) leader Ali Anwar and Congress MLA from Palwal, Karan Singh Dalal.
After expressing his condolences to Jalaluddin, Hooda said, “I stand with everyone who has been meted out injustice. We want the government to take quick action so that the culprits are punished. Maybe if they are punished, all this will stop.”
A few hours after he left, suspended AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan visited the family, with promises of medical care, justice, and some harsh words for the central government. “There were so many people in the train, yet no one helped. This is the kind of atmosphere that has been created. I will take this up in the Vidhan Sabha tomorrow,” he said.
Amanatullah then made Junaid’s father speak to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the phone. “Unhone aashvaasan diya ki woh humare saath hain, ki unhe dukh hua sunn ke Juanid ke baare mein,” said Jalaluddin.