A DAY after they lost one of their own, residents of Khandawli village in Faridabad said Eid this year will be a sombre affair. Residents said they will celebrate the festival only for the “sake of formality”. The streets, that are usually deserted as the festival nears, remained crowded on Saturday as scores of people thronged the roads, all on their way to meet Jalaluddin and his family to mourn the death of their son, and express solidarity.
Khurshida, a resident of the village, said: “This is a small and peaceful village. We do not have any friction internally or with anyone outside. This incident has shaken the whole village, and taken all the joy out of the festival season.”
Residents of Khandawli at present are looking for two things — justice and reassurance.
Elaborating further, she said: “We all are still continuing with our fasts and prayers, and are obligated to break those with Eid celebrations… We cannot give up what we owe to our faith only because someone else targeted it… But there will be no happiness or pomp in the celebrations. It will only be a formality…”
The vile nature of the events that led to Junaid’s death has left residents of Khandawli shocked and scared. The accused had allegedly manhandled the teenager and his companions, “pulled caps off their heads and trampled on them” and even attempted to “pull (their) beards”.
Youngsters claim they have been scared by the slew of tragedies that have struck members of their community across the country in the past few months. However, with the tragedy hitting so close to home, they have not been left unsettled. “Junaid and his brothers were targeted because of the external symbols of their faith — their caps and their beards. Will we meet the same fate if we board trains wearing our caps?” asked Mohammad Azharuddin, in his early twenties.
Besides fear and sorrow, anger is one emotion that has gripped the village, with many expressing dissatisfaction in the administration. “Why is the administration not ensuring that such a thing won’t happen again?”