The remains of a room where the bed mattress still smells of smoke in Haryana’s Sunperh village is witness to, along with a couple of burnt toys, to the simmering caste tensions in the state.
The room is dark, its walls charred. The door is half broken. It wasn’t like that four days ago. On Monday night, Jitender had kicked this door — locked from outside - to save his two kids, two-and-a-half-year old Vaibhav and nine-month old Divya, who were burnt alive in this room.
Visitors to his house have all spent a few minutes inside this dark room, trying to understand what could have happened that night. Also, how seven police officers on duty at a ‘jagran’ in the nearby building, failed to spot men who poured petrol from outside and set the room on fire.
The bed with its burnt mattresses is as it was that night. There is a doll - its face darkened by soot - on the rack above the bed. “Divya was too small to play with this doll. It must have been her brother Vaibhav’s doll,” said Jitender’s cousin Yogesh.
There is a burnt bangle, which relatives said belonged to Divya. His parents had got it from a temple in Ballabhgarh town, some months ago to ward off the evil. A toy ship, the family had bought as a décor from Faridabad many years ago, has also been charred.
Villagers passing by to meet Jitender stop for while and take curious glances from the window. The village youths even take pictures of the room with their mobile phones. A few even enter the room escorting the photographers, who check the burnt doll for a quick photo opportunity. Others curiously stare at the half broken door. “No one has learnt from Aarushi case. The room is not sealed and free for all,” said a journalist inside the room on Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, three days after the two kids were burnt, the director of the Haryana Forensic Science Department visited the room and got it sealed.
Political bigwigs such as Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, local MP Krishanpal Gurjar, MLA and leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party have all visited the house of Jitender in the past three days.