As entire village shares a mother’s grief, some ask: How can we ever be happy?

Faridabad lynching: Outside their home, 15-year-old Junaid Khan's brothers — Ismail, Faisal and Hashim — wear black armbands as they head out for prayers on Eid morning. Grief hangs in the air, as does fear.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Khandawli | Updated: June 27, 2017 5:12 am
junaid khan family, faridabad lynching, khandawli village, indian express Junaid’s mother, Saira. (Tashi Tobgyal)

There are only two words that leave Saira Khan’s lips — Allah and Junaid. The mehendi on her hands has faded beyond recognition. “Mehendi uss din rachai thi jiss din usne Quran khatam ki thi,” she says, breaking down.
Saira’s son Junaid Khan was stabbed to death in a Mathura-bound train on Thursday evening as he was returning home to Khandawli after a day of Eid shopping in Delhi. The mob that attacked him allegedly mocked his skull cap and called him a beef eater.

Outside their home, Junaid’s brothers — Ismail, Faisal and Hashim — wear black armbands as they head out for prayers on Eid morning. Grief hangs in the air, as does fear. As their father Jalaluddin begins walking towards the mosque, sympathetic eyes of the neighbourhood settle on him.

Once the prayer ends, the men gather in a field opposite the mosque and tie black bands on their arms. “We will only pray, not celebrate Eid. How can we? These black bands are a display of our sorrow; we have got support from our village and other villages as well,” says Hashim, 19, who too was stabbed in the train. Junaid’s brother Shaqir, who was stabbed five times, is yet to return home as he is recuperating at the AIIMS Trauma Centre.

For the last three days, Junaid’s neighbour Mohsin, who was with him in the train on Thursday, has avoided meeting his friend’s mother.

On Eid, he stands at their door, and Saira screams ‘Junaid’ before hugging him. “I was with Junaid, I carried his body. I didn’t want to see his mother deliberately because it would have caused her pain. I went to Delhi instead to meet Shaqir, who is still in the hospital. Today is the first time I have met her since the incident,” says Mohsin.

junaid khan family, faridabad lynching, khandawli village, indian express Junaid’s father Jalaluddin. (Tashi Tobgyal)

There are no celebrations in the village — no decorations on the street, no new clothes or jubilant greetings. “We bought new clothes for the children to wear on Eid but we haven’t unpacked them. This is not a celebration anymore,” says Hanif Khan, 36, who lives near Junaid’s house.

Most houses in the village are a hub of discussion, with many recounting the “peace-loving nature of the Khan brothers”. At a shop nearby, Aslam, packing pakodas for a buyer, says, “Every year on Eid, I sell a quintal of pakodas. But this year, it’s barely 20 kg. No one is happy; how can we ever be? Such a tragedy has struck the village.” For the first time in many decades, seviyan kheer has not been prepared in Aslam’s house.

As 38-year-old electrician Qutub-ud-din walks aimlessly in the lane, he notices the grim atmosphere and says, “Har
Eid parinde ki tarah udte thay yahan bachche; aaj kitna ajeeb lag raha hai.”

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  1. S
    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm
    PM Mr. Modi Should condemn this incident and should urge people to be reasonable. What happened to his morcha now 'Sabka saath sabka vikaas' ? . Many muslims are accepting Beef ban and are keeping themselves away from consuming Beef. He should atleast try minimize the intolerance by spreading unity and harmony messages . Also he should take time from visiting foreign countries and Visit Ajmer Shareef, as he said he is fan of Sufism. A Dargah is a place where people from different religions,communities visits.
    1. B
      Jun 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm
      Imagine this happenibg to one of our kids on Diwali. Would you be inflamed, call for blood? Yes you would. I am not fan of way Muslims go about their religion but we Hindus should be ashamed ourself. We ask Ram to give us strength so that we can encompass his values. Yet in his name we are doing bloodshed. How are we any different from Muslims? Modi/Shah are letting the narrative slip from their hand. Get a grip on it and end this madnrss of shedding blood over beef.
      1. S
        Jun 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm
        Those who are doing atrocities should remember that power will not last for long time. Everyone having their own time.
        1. S
          Jun 28, 2017 at 5:11 am
          Madrasas or tableeghi jamaat should be banned in india until they add self defence courses or karate classes in their curriculam, becaue these mullah force the children to wear skull caps and sport beard but they will not teach them self defence in case of an emergency like lynching. And these mullahs feed the goons to target simple children sporting beards and caps. in the name of religion. IF YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DEFENDING/GUARDING YOUR SKULL CAPS AND BEARD THEN SPORT IT IF NOT SHUN UNTILL YOU ARE CAPABLE teach your children self defence not to attack but sa uard themselves. Because any corner you might find a dogs (sanghis) let loose
          1. S
            Jun 28, 2017 at 6:26 pm
            I salute your feelings.
            1. D
              Jun 28, 2017 at 6:45 pm
              Perfectly said. Everyone should learn self-defense same like RSS is teaching its cadres exactly same way. Its high time.
          2. G
            Jun 27, 2017 at 9:21 pm
            It so sad for a family which lost their child.These maniacs did not think ,what will be condition of their Mother, father, brothers, sisters , relatives and friend's if they were victims? It is not only a heinous crime,it is a sin. Punish culprits in fast track.Those murderers need no mercy.Victim's family should be paid compensated suitably .These crimes in cover of politics or religion must end.
            1. I
              Jun 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm
              nobody is bothered about the Muslims,just imagine a 15 year old boy what could he had harmed the other people.since a few months only muslims are targeted and innocents are killed in the name of cow protection.please just think about the mother and other family members,how could they cope with the trauma. Atleast the ruling bjp govt should have consoled the family by visiting them and announcing the compensation.If these incidents rise,then the safety of the minority will be in danger.
              1. G
                Jun 27, 2017 at 9:38 pm
                May God help family to overcome this huge loss.Those who kill others in the name of beef are maniacs.justice should prevail.Punishment for such crimes must be death without delay.
                1. S
                  Jun 28, 2017 at 6:28 pm
                  Not safety of minority but the safety of country.
                2. A
                  atul rajput
                  Jun 27, 2017 at 11:00 am
                  There should be a strict law against this. As many as can be identified should be put away for life. Cow belt has always been the most violent region in India so this doesn't surprise me but doing all this in the name of cow is the most evil of all things.
                  1. P
                    Jun 27, 2017 at 7:58 am
                    It is truly a shame for India and every Indian. If this does not stop, it will bring down Modi and BJP. Modi was elected to deliver growth and I remember his words that he will be the prime minister for everyone. He MUST speak and condemn such heinous crimes and the guilty must be punished. If RSS really wants to rule for the next twenty years, they will have to stop this senseless killing of innocent people. Otherwise they will be no different from Hizbul.
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