A 17-year-old head of the family | india | Hindustan Times
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A 17-year-old head of the family

india Updated: May 18, 2008 00:28 IST
Ashok Das

Tucked between two landmarks of Hyderabad — the historic Mecca Masjid and the colourful Lad Bazaar — is a slum stacked with tin-roof shacks. Inside one such shack, 10 feet by 8 feet in size, lives Yousuf Khan’s five-member family. During summer days such as these, there is no respite from heat inside the shack. This is the family’s living room, bedroom, kitchen and work area. In the night, a bicycle too has to be parked inside.

When Yousuf Khan, a cargo-loader in Lad Bazaar, died at the Mecca Masjid blast a year back, the responsibility of the family fell on the slender shoulders of Yousuf’s eldest son, Riyaz Khan, then 17. After the death of his wife seven years ago, Yousuf went about bringing up his three sons and a daughter. Now Riyaz has to look after his siblings and their 69-year-old grandmother, Bano Bee, too.<b1>

The initial state grant of Rs 5 lakh was put into fixed deposits in the name of Riyaz’s siblings. The family is yet to get the promised Rs 1 lakh from the PM’s Relief Fund (announced soon after the blast). Ditto for the Rs 1 lakh promised by Telugu Desam leader N Chandrababu Naidu. The promised government job materialised only last month. Till it happened, the family was unsure of even two daily meals, as cash was hard to come by.

It’s not more dole money that the family really looks forward to today — it’s the house the state government had promised. Anything would be better than the shack.