Kadamkuan and Bara-Khurd stood out shrouded in darkness on Diwali. For the people there, it was no time to celebrate.
At the Patna locality, hundreds descended on the house of Rahul Raj (in pic), the 25-year-old who was killed in police firing in Mumbai on Monday. They were waiting to receive his body.
“For us, it is mourning time. We are with his family at this time of pain and sorrow. How can we celebrate Diwali, when a young boy next door has been killed in such a gruesome police encounter?” said Sushil Singh.
One of Rahul’s childhood friends, Vivek, said: “There was no collective decision not to celebrate Diwali. It is spontaneous. How can we celebrate when we are going to cremate him right now?”
Vivek’s sentiment resonates across Bara-Khurd village, miles away in Nalanda district.
“We took a collective decision not to celebrate to protest Pawan’s killing,” said Suresh Mahato, a resident of the village.
Pawan Kumar, the son of a farmer, was one of the hundreds of students who had gone to Mumbai to appear for the railway recruitment examination on October 19. He died in the violence unleashed by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists.
“We are yet to overcome the trauma of the death of a promising youth. He was a bright student and wanted to study more after getting a job in railways. Unfortunately, he has left us without fulfilling his dreams,” said Janak Mahato, another villager.