‘Did technology help when my boy was attacked?’
Ever since the blast flung splinters into his 18-year-old son’s abdomen on Friday afternoon, 49-year-old Afzal Ahmed Khan has been sitting outside the Intensive Care Unit of the Nizam’s Hospital in Hyderabad, whispering prayers in an endless chant.
His wife Habibunnisa (38) sits by his side in silence. Mohsin, their only child, was saying his afternoon prayers when the bomb exploded.
“The doctors say his right arm is smashed. He’s breathing through a machine,” says Habibunnisa. In addition to the multiple fractures in his right arm and the abdominal wounds, Mohsin is battling internal bleeding and has been put on artificial respiration.
“We fled Mumbai after the riots of 1992,” sobs Afzal. “I was happy there, I drove a rickshaw for five years. But I gave it all up because my family didn’t feel safe. How were we to know our boy would be targeted here, in our own hometown?”
Afzal murmurs, “He went to the Mecca Masjid every day for the afternoon prayers. He is a very devout boy. Allah will not take him from us.”
When he looks up, he is not crying any more. “Every time, it is the poor who suffer,” he says. “In Malegaon, at Jama Masjid, our government could not protect us. No one feels safe.”
We keep hearing about the technology revolution, he says. “But did it help when my boy was being attacked?”