Mohamad Akhlaq (50) who was beaten to death by a mob that accused him of eating cow meat, refused to even have a simple plate of dal rice, prepared by her cousin Heena Saifi. “My father lost his life because of one meal. Whenever I try to eat, the same thought comes to my mind,” Shaista said, while a group of her relatives consoled her.
Her two-storey house in Dadrí’s Bisara village is now littered with belongings that were merely two days ago owned by the family. These inclue utensils, refrigerator and even the sewing machine used by Shaista with which she is said to have stitched clothes for the families of those accused of the attack.
“We had finished dinner after which my father and brother Danish were upstairs. An announcement was made in the temple and moments later a mob started banging on our door while abusing us. They threatened to kill us and when they finally entered our home, both my father and brother were attacked with hockey sticks, batons and even swords,” Shaista told dna.
“It happened so fast. I saw my father being dragged down the stairs and along the road. Danish (Shaista’s brother) was being beaten mercilessly but he kept on begging to spare our father,” Shaista said before breaking down, not the first time since her father’s murder.
The women of the house – Akhlaq’s two daughters, wife and mother — were shoved into the kitchen while the mob went upstairs where Dansh and his father were trying to make sense of what was happening.
As this correspondent was speaking with Shaista, Asgara Begum, Akhlaq’s 80-year-old mother, walks into the room. She uses the support of its broken doors to enter.
“Shaista has been crying ever since the horrible night. My grandson Danish is in hospital and his elder brother Sartaj had to rush from Chennai where he is training in the Indian Air force. My daughter-law has not spoken to us since that night,” Asgara said. “They have destroyed my family”.
Police told dna that Akhlaq died as a result of injuries that were inflicted on his head and neck. Danish is currently in a hospital and his condition is stated to be critical.
Heena, Shaista’s cousin, interjects. “We are even afraid to use the toilets at night,” she said pointing to the bathroom which lies a few feet away from the main residential portion of the house.