Eight-year-old Ali giggled in his mother Shabana’s ear, “Iska naam Sonu rakh do, Ammi.” Next to Shabana (26) lay her day-old baby boy, who yawned in his sleep, unaware of the injury on his mother’s arm, sustained a day before he was born, in a mob attack.
On Tuesday afternoon, a pregnant Shabana pleaded with the mob that had entered her house in Karawal Nagar’s Mahalaxmi Vihar not to hit her in the stomach. “The mob beat me with lathis… Some kicked me in the stomach. They stopped after a while, destroyed the house, and left,” said Shabana, as she lay on a bed at Al-Hind Hospital in Old Mustafabad.
On Wednesday night, she gave birth to a healthy boy, who weighed 3.5 kg, and is likely be named “Azad” or “Sonu”.
Shabana said a neighbour, Sanjiv, dropped her off at Old Mustafabad on a bike after the attack on Tuesday, and then the rest of her family — two children, mother-in-law and other relatives — made it to the same place. “We stayed at a relative’s house here and decided to drop off Shabana to her mother’s house in Nangloi so she can deliver there. Police personnel agreed to drop us too but only till Yamuna Vihar. She went into labour, so we quickly rushed her to Al-Hind Hospital,” said her relative Shama.
The doctor who treated Shabana said it was a complicated delivery as she couldn’t produce her medical history as all the papers got burnt in their house. “If we had access to her ultrasound, we may have recommended a C-section. She is doing better now, but she is depressed, tense and her BP has been fluctuating,” said the doctor.
While Shabana’s husband has been informed that he had a baby boy, he has been unable to visit. Her uncle, Mujib-ur-Rehman, said, “He ran towards Loni and the atmosphere there is a bit tense. We have advised him to come later.”
Rehman too managed to escape with Sanjiv’s help.
Ali stared in wonder at the faces the newborn made, while Shabana asked her mother-in-law if anything from their burnt home was salvaged. “Where will I go with my newborn and my two boys now? Sab toh khatam kar diya. Kabhi nahi socha tha yeh itni dehshat ke mahaul mein janam lega,” she said.