‘How could they hate us so much’: Family in shock after 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death on train
Police said one person was arrested for his involvement in Hafiz Junaid’s killing, which came amid several incidents of assaults on Muslims across the country over beef and cow slaughter.
It was on Wednesday evening that Junaid and Hashim attained the title of a “Hafiz” after investing over three years to memorize the Quran by heart and got Rs 1500 as a reward from their mother.
It was their first Eid after becoming a Hafiz and they wanted to look their best. To celebrate and shop, they planned a visit to Delhi’s Jama Masjid and promised to return before sundown. One of the two could not.
Junaid was allegedly stabbed to death and four others were injured on board a Mathura-bound train when an argument over a seat turned into religious slurs and triggered a mob attack on family members returning home from Eid shopping.
The incident took place on Thursday evening between Okhla and Asoti in Haryana, a distance of about 60 km. The four injured told Hindustan Times at Khaddawli, a small village in Haryana’s Faridabad district, the attackers repeatedly called them “anti-nationals” and “beef eaters”, threw their skull caps on the floor, caught their beards and taunted them with terms such as “mulla”.
“Junaid was so happy that he will be formally felicitated for their achievement on Eid. Since Ramzan started, he and Hashim had been reciting the Quran everyday at the mosque. They wanted to look good, so they specially went to purchase a new set of clothes to Jama Masjid. Their mother asked them to fetch the best sewaiyan and sweets to be served on the festival. He promised to reach home early, but what reached home was his dead body. How could those men be so cruel to have pierced my son’s body like that,” Jallaluddin, Junaid’s father, said.
“He was a child. He was just 16. How could they hate us so much to have killed him so brutally? When I reached the spot, my son Hashim was sitting on the station with Junaid’s body soaked in blood in his lap,” he added, even as he was being consoled intermittently by fellow villagers in Khadwali, Haryana.
Jallaluddin had reached Ballabgarh station to pick up his sons so that they could go to open the fast together, but when he reached the train had already left.
“Sakir (Junaid’s elder brother who boarded the train at Ballabgarh after being informed about the attack) called me saying that he was going to the station to pick up the boys. He asked me to come to the station as well. He never told me that there was a problem. When I reached the station, the train had already left. When I could not locate the boys I called Sakir, he also did not take the call. Junaid and Hashim too did not pick. I thought the boys must have left. What did I know that they were fighting for their life,” he said.
Saira, Junaid’s mother, was oblivious to the news of her son’s death. Till Friday morning she was not informed about it. When the women from the village started visiting her to console her, she wondered why they were there.
“Women kept coming and asking me about Junaid. I wondered why they were referring to him in the past tense. No one ever told me that he was no more. How could they hide it from me,” she said, fighting back her tears.
“I got to know only when his body returned home this morning. When he did not reach home last night, I kept asking his father about his whereabouts but no one answered me,” she said.
Saira said she will never be able to celebrate the festival of Eid. “This time it was special. My sons became the Hafiz. The preservers. And a day later I lost him. How can this be justified. How am I to cope up with this loss?”